Pros 04.04.2022 — 17:39 Uhr

"Constructive process" at half time

Mainz head coach and players only firing on all cylinders following half-time team talk after going behind

Bo Svensson wasn’t the only one to voice his opinion during the break against Gladbach.

Mainz 05 fans stayed until after the final whistle to cheer their team and themselves at Gladbach’s Borussia-Park on Sunday. The 05 fans played their part in creating a fantastic atmosphere as Borussia’s ground saw over 40,000 spectators in the stands for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The travelling support were rewarded with a strong second-half performance from their side who hardly gave the home side a chance to breathe and can consider themselves unlucky to only come away with a 1-1 draw. It was an impressive performance that was a complete contrast to a mediocre opening 45 minutes.

The 05ers’ away form has left a lot to be desired all season and Bo Svensson stated in the build up to Sunday’s game that his team has something to prove in their remaining away games of the campaign. However, at least in the first half against Gladbach, Mainz looked like a far cry from the side who have amassed 30 points from 14 games at home this season. Too passive, too "fearful and untidy", as the head coach put it, Mainz allowed Borussia too many passes in midfield, resulting in several chances for the home side.

"Constructive process" at half time

"“The fact that Gladbach were clearly the better side is down to us," said Svensson, who said his players were self-critical at the break. "They were the ones who were doing most of the talking and found the clear message.” Mainz deservedly went behind after around half an hour after Breel Embolo found the back of the net. The head coach also added some words of his own. Svensson, who went on to see a completely different performance from his team after the break, spoke to the media of a "constructive process" at full time.

Sommer holds strong against Mainz onslaught

The Danish coach had reason to be pleased with the change that came after the break; his side were strong in their play and spirit, varied in attack and more solid at the back when compared to the first half. The introductions of substitutes Jonny Burkardt at the beginning of the half and later on Jae-sung Lee helped Mainz dominate proceedings, which was reflected by their clear superior number of chances. Only the fantastic Yann Sommer was the reason Mainz didn’t walk away with three points. The Swiss goalkeeper showed some brilliant reactions to deny Burkardt twice, Lee and equaliser-goalscorer Karim Onisiwo.

"We wanted to play braver football after the break and asked the team to play," said Svensson on what was discussed at half time. "Then we had longer spells in possession and Gladbach had to retreat. We’ll watch each half now and analyse them. We have two more difficult tasks this week. If we go to our limit and are capable of playing the way we did after the break, we can take this confidence with us. Our chances of taking something away are higher if we play like we did in the second half," said the coach, who will travel with his team to FC Augsburg (Wednesday 18:30 CEST) and 1. FC Köln Saturday (15:30 CEST) this week.

"We’ll take this confidence with us"

Should the team repeat their first half performance, they may well run into some problems this week. "We have to play like we did in the second half when we go to Augsburg and Köln. Otherwise, we will not get anything out of those games," said sporting director Martin Schmidt at full time.