Pros 30.03.2022 — 19:44 Uhr

Giving it everything for the full 90 minutes

The unwavering team player who is spurred on by the fans. Karim Onisiwo discusses the importance of Mainz taking their strong home form on the road.

Doing everything to make sure the team succeeds: Onisiwo would like to add to his goal tally in the remaining games

Karim Onisiwo has been an ever-present for 1. FSV Mainz this season and there is a reason why the 30-year-old Austrian has played the sixth most minutes of anyone this season. He has helped the team with his intense, physical style of play and is someone who always puts the team first. “I simply play in a way that helps the team. That is the most important thing for me,” said the forward. With three away games in six days on the horizon, Onisiwo wants to build on the strong performances and together with his team mates, start putting in some strong performances away from home.

Onisiwo was in his native Vienna over the weekend, enjoying some time off with his family, before the training week begins ahead of the tip to Mönchengladbach. He was on standby as a reserve for the Austria national team during the recent international break and he watched his side’s World Cup qualification play-off defeat to Wales (2-1) on the television. “Unfortunately it was just not meant to be and we won’t be competing at this year’s World Cup. That hurts a lot,” said Onisiwo. The striker however still looks ahead: “We have good players, a great team spirit and we will prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.” The 30-year-old is aware that he may not get too many more opportunities to play at a World Cup, even if there are players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic who continue to perform at the highest level at 40 years old. “Zlatan is built different,” he said with a wink.

He was however able to congratulate his teammate Anton Stach for making his debut for the German national team. “I was delighted for him. He deserves to get a taste of it. I see him every day in training and his commitment is incredible. He has to keep what he’s doing, keep working hard and keep learning and he will keep progressing,” said Onisiwo.

"I am delighted for him" - Onisiwo on his teammate Stach making his Germany debut

Spurred on by the fans

Onisiwo is also looking forward to taking on the challenges that lie ahead in the Bundesliga, not least because two games were postponed due to the Covid outbreak. “We put in a great performance against BVB in front of a full house but it just wasn’t quite enough for the points. That was tough to take.” The Austrian, however, was quick to point out how well his side bounced back against Bielefeld just three days later: “I’ve been here a bit longer than some players but for me, it was an incredibly special atmosphere. We got off to a great start with a goal after less than a minute and at that point you have the whole stadium behind you, driving you forwards. We controlled the game. When everything goes your way you have that energy to give everything for the full 90 minutes and to leave everything out on the field.”

I’ve been here a bit longer than some players but for me, it was an incredibly special atmosphere.

Even though a few chances were spurned in front of the goal, the striker was still satisfied with not only his individual performance, but the team’s as a whole. However, he has made it clear that he wants to add to his goal tally in the remaining games: “It is my personal ambition to improve on that front,” he said. The Austrian has scored three goals so far this season and he had a goal ruled out against Leverkusen that should have stood. It didn’t take him long to get over it though, as he stands by his motto: “Pick yourself up and go again.” Onisiwo has also proven his other strengths and has eight assists to his name this season, perhaps testament to the fact that he used to be a wide player. “I have a few assists in the bank and they help the team just as much. That’s what I think, anyway. If I play it through to Jonny and he knocks it in, then that is worth just as much. As a number nine you can sometimes be more selfish but I simply play in a way that helps the team. That is the most important thing for me.”

Full intensity for the full 90 minutes

Improving on the poor away form

In order to improve in front of goal, Onisiwo and his fellow strikers have been completing extra training sessions on a regular basis. “We think this is important and I’m always trying to improve. It’s working well for Jonny, so hopefully it will for me too.” The best time to prove these sessions are paying off will come this Sunday in Mönchengladbach (17:30 CEST). That match is then followed by two more away matches the week after, at Augsburg (6/4, 18:30 CEST) and 1. FC Köln (9/4, 15:30 CEST). “We haven’t picked up many points away from home. We need to put this behind us and try to play like we do at home – with great energy and with full concentration.”