Pros 14.09.2022 — 18:33 Uhr

Fernandes: “My outlook has changed once again”

Swiss international speaks about his new chance at Mainz 05, his flexibility, the start of the season and the upcoming World Cup

After joining Bielefeld on loan at the start of last season and then moving to Young Boys in the winter, Edimilson Fernandes is impressing back at Mainz 05, despite being talked about as a possible permanent departure in the summer. The Swiss midfielder has featured in four of the six league games to date, recording one assist, whilst he feels “top fit and in good shape. I know the coach believes in me and that gives me confidence,” explained Fernandes, who returned to Germany after his time on loan in Bern this summer. Before Friday’s game at home to Hertha BSC (20:30 CEST), the 26-year-old reflected on the last few months, including the defeat at Hoffenheim, and spoke about the upcoming World Cup.

Be successful with the fans behind the team

Around 4,000 Mainz fans cheered their team on during the match against Hoffenheim last weekend. “I was really impressed with our support in Hoffenheim. We had a lot of fans there and they made a great noise. It was great to see that the fans are there for us, particularly after losing the game. That will definitely help us in the future,” said Fernandes. On the pitch, it was extremely tough for the Zerofivers after Alexander Hack’s early red card (41’). “We simply have to move on from this game and focus on our next match,” demanded the Swiss midfielder.

Friday night games are always special and I’m looking forward to a big crowd and a good atmosphere.

The next chance to pick up points comes on Friday night against the Berliners. As a result, the Mainz players have had a shorter week of training to prepare for the game. “Having a shorter week after the Hoffenheim game isn’t the worst thing in the world. We can simply fully concentrate on this match in training.” Fernandes is excited to be back at the MEWA ARENA: “Friday night games are always special and I’m looking forward to a big crowd and a good atmosphere. I hope we can get the win!”

Working hard to break into the squad

The Swiss international’s future at the Zerofivers, following his return from the loan to Young Boys at the end of June, was still not clear. Fernandes had left Mainz in the summer of 2021 to join Arminia Bielefeld on loan, but only played eight games for the club and moved to the Bern-based side in the winter. “I had a tough time, so I wasn’t feeling too positive when I returned to Mainz, because I thought my time here was at an end. In the end, though, pre-season has gone well, I had some great discussions, I put myself in the window and now my outlook has changed once again,” said Fernandes.

People read and heard a lot of things, but for me as a player it was important to keep training hard and working on myself.

Mainz’s game against Hoffenheim saw Fernandes make his fourth league appearance in six games. The Swiss international played primarily on the right wing.

For a long while, ‘Edi’ was seen as a player who could be transferred, but he kept focused on himself, worked hard, and got the rewards he deserved through his appearances. “People read and heard a lot of things, but for me as a player it was important to keep training hard and working on myself. At the moment, I feel fighting fit and I’m in a good place: that’s what counts,” the Swiss midfielder said. His key areas of work were his defending and physical fitness, which he says have stepped up to another level. “The first few games have gone well for me personally; I’ve had a lot of good game time. The coach trusts me, which makes me happy and gives me a lot of self-confidence. I hope it carries on like this,” Fernandes said, commenting on the season so far.

Being flexible and thinking ahead to the World Cup

The position which Fernandes has seen most game time in under Bo Svensson this season, the right wing, is one that he is not too unfamiliar with. “For me, playing there isn’t too much of a change or a surprise. The coach has said he sees me as a bit of a versatile utility player. I have had that role in the past, so I feel fine playing on the right,” the 26-year-old said. Despite playing the majority of games in his career so far in central midfield, he has also played in almost every position apart from goalkeeper at least once, proving just how flexible he is.

The coach has said he sees me as a bit of a versatile utility player. I have had that role in the past, so I feel fine playing on the right.

Fernandes’ competition for appearances on the right is none other than club captain and Swiss international compatriot Selvan Widmer. The pair do not have as close a battle for game time whilst with the ‘Nati’ though, as they take up different positions there. The World Cup in November, though, is of course a topic of interest for the 26-year-old, as it has been difficult for him to get international nominations due to his lack of game time at club level. “Now I’m getting matches under my belt and I hope that things carry on as they are, so that I can be in the squad for the World Cup,” said Fernandes, working towards a possible career highlight this winter. Until then, though, the main concern for him and his teammates will be to collect as many points as possible – the next  opportunity comes on Friday night at home to Hertha BSC.