Pros 22.12.2018 — 11:13 Uhr

Derby performance a benchmark

The Zerofivers will play their last Bundesliga match of the year on Sunday

On the 10th August 2013, Sandro Schwarz and Julian Nagelsmann met on the sidelines for the first time as Schwarz’s Mainz youth team beat Nagelsmann’s TSG Hoffenheim youth team in the A-Junior-Bundesliga South/Southwest division. It is the only victory Schwarz has over Nagelsmann having now played five games against each other. Although the Mainz coach does not pay any attention to the statistics, he would very much like to get a victory in the last game of the season.

“We don’t want to play defensive or passively on Sunday,” said Schwarz, whose team have more points from the first half of the season, compared to the last two seasons he has been in charge. “We want the three points and we will go there with a lot of self-confidence and play our game.” The fact that no one in the Zerofivers will sit satisfied with their 20 point total so far this season underlines how ambitious the club is, with this view being spearheaded by sporting director Rouven Schröder. “We aren’t going to take it easy because we have 20 points. We want to push on further,”  said Schröder, two days after the Rhein-Main-Derby, especially since the Zerofivers deserve more points than 20 based on their performances.

Mistake in Leipzig not to be repeated.

The Zerofivers will travel to Hoffenheim off the back of a strong performance against Europa League candidates Eintracht Frankfurt. The head coach however has warned: “Hoffenheim are the hardest running team in the league. Also, they have varied ways of pressing the opponent; sometimes from the front and sometimes a trigger press. They also are good with possession and can transition from defence to attack very well.” It will be important for Mainz 05 that they negate any potential errors, which were ultimately the reason why they lost in Leipzig. On the other hand, Schwarz says that the superb first 45 minutes against Eintracht should be the benchmark. “We want to make things happen in Hoffenheim, press them hard and get forward,” said the coach. Hopefully it will be similar to the game where the team pressed high against Eintracht, with Robin Quaison scoring twice.

Sandro Schwarz has said that he will wait and see how players are before picking his starting XI as this will be the third game of the week. “We will definitely be considerate and listen to the players.” Ridle Baku is back in contention for the starting line-up as he made his return against Eintracht in the second half. “He made a good impression but we have to wait and see,” commented Schwarz. There will be 1600 supporters travelling one day before Christmas Eve to support the Zerofivers. René Adler, Florian Müller, Phillip Mwene and Emil Berggreen will not be travelling with the team. A victory for the Zerofivers will only sweeten the mood for Christmas day.