Pros 21.02.2019 — 19:48 Uhr

A logical combination

The contract extension of coach, Sandro Schwarz: The result of a long-term development process

The time of the announcement is surprising – at first look. Internally, the contract extension for Schwarz, who has been at the helm since summer of 2017, has been a long time coming. The announcement on Thursday now appears a very logical decision.

On Tuesday afternoon, Journalists in Bruchweg were once again able to see the coach in top form – emotional, critical, militant, much like he has been for recent games while looking towards the upcoming challenges. During the press report, the former footballer left a lasting impression while simultaneously bringing back memories of last March, where he was finally able to challenge the stigma of the emotionless man sitting on the sidelines. In retrospect, it was a significant milestone in the relegation battle. Schwarz was able to convince his fans and critics of his mission to stay up in the final sprint of the season. You can hardly even compare the position at that point to where Mainz are now – there’s been too much development to look at them the same way.

Schröder: "You can see a clear development"

The reasons for this are obvious, as Sporting Director Rouven Schröder explained on Thursday: “We are very satisfied with Sandro and his coaching team, having seen a clear development. The head coach is a constant in the club, with whom we have overcome difficulties together in the past. We have become more flexible in our play style and have changed our game plan. We have made this decision separately from daily business, it’s all about the content we are seeing on both sides – which we would certainly like to continue. We want to continue our journey together. Our cooperation is characterized by complete trust. Our coach is the right man in the right place, and we, as a club, are far from the end of our development.” The story that unites the diligent worker, Schwarz, with Mainz 05 is a special one. As a teenager, he went to second division games as a fan on the bus to the still ailing Bruchwegstadion. Later, the now 40-year-old, went from a youth player to professional, where he debuted at the age of 1. With setbacks, he learned to deal with upsets as well as how to capitalize on things. They missed promotion in 2002/03 but successfully managed to go up in 2004. After that, the defensive midfielder made left the club, “I needed a clear perspective. I don’t know if that necessarily gave me one.” Schwarz came back as U19 coach in 2013. The U23 side in the third division subsequently asked for him to help them engage in the Bundesliga.

“You can never take being in the Bundesliga for granted. Our club has experienced many difficult moments and always gotten up again,” said the Zerofivers’ trainer. “That’s our story.” The fact that he is now head coach and son of the city may well be part of his story, as it fills him with pride whenever he meets someone in the city centre. The factor that really draws fans to him is the years of football he played for the club and the commitment, which they can identify with. “ The most important thing is that the fans recognize themselves within us, how we want to play, the way in which we play, the mentality we go into games with. We’ve worked on that a lot and it’s been really popular with the fans.” The last few weeks, where two wins were followed by three defeats is obviously not ideal, which Schwarz agreed with. Ultimately, it’s part of the development process, which has earned Mainz 27 points from 22 games so far.

He doesn’t see any problems with his team that urgently need fixing: “We have to make the things that we are already doing well, even better. That’s the task for this week,” said the coach just a few days before the clash with Schalke 04 in the OPEL ARENA.

Clear footballing philosophy

Notwithstanding results, the ambitious coach has always shown one thing - the aspiration to encourage and demand young players – and it’s no coincidence that Schwarz has both the youngest squad in the Bundesliga, and has already helped three youth players onto their Bundesliga debuts this season. At the same time, he is advancing his system and the team – creating the ideal mix of possession and dynamic football. Schwarz has not wanted to limit himself to a particular philosophy or way of thinking since the beginning of his coaching career. Such an approach would be too limiting, something he has already realized from his stints as a coach at SV Wehen Wiesbaden and FC Eschborn. A football match contains times where combining football ideologies can be questionable. Both on and off the pitch, Schwarz and Mainz is both an ideal and logical combination.