Pros 04.10.2021 — 15:15 Uhr

Svensson: "It happened twice and it decided the game"

After the match against Union Berlin, Mainz head coach Bo Svensson bemoaned the manner in which his team let in two second half goals. Despite leading at the break, the Zerofivers were condemned to a first home defeat of the season.

Goalscorers Ingvartsen and Awoniyi battling for the ball.

Former Union player Marcus Ingvartsen’s second goal of the season was not enough to win Mainz the points in Stefan Bell’s 200th Bundesliga game. Unexpected positional errors from the best defence in the league to date, who had not conceded at home in three games, meant that the Zerofivers suffered their first defeat at home this season against 1. FC Union Berlin. “We allowed them to outplay us, which was naïve,” was head coach Bo Svensson’s analysis before going into more detail on where things went wrong in his press conference after the game.

“It was an even contest in the first half and there were chances at both ends, one of which we managed to convert to take the lead,” said the Dane. “In the second half Union were stronger and we didn’t really find a way to deal with it.” With the double substitutions and little adjustments to our system we managed to get a better grip on the game, but “unfortunately only for three or four minutes,” Svensson added.

Ex Mainzer Taiwo Awoniyi decided the match in favour of the Berlin side, scoring two goals in just four minutes. Both times, the striker profited from positional errors in the Mainz defence. “We gifted them both goals; you can’t defend like that. We all know how strong Taiwo is when it comes to through balls. We let that happen twice and that was what decided the game.”

According to the head coach, Mainz’s change of system was not the decisive factor in conceding the two goals: “The problem was in the defensive line. When the central defender in the three is higher than the two either side of him it creates a big gap and there is suddenly space in-behind. Then if we’re up against a very quick striker who goes after that kind of space, it becomes very difficult to defend.

Ingvartsen goal and a good first half

The second half performance meant that Ingvartsen’s second goal of the season, coming against his former employers, was not enough to secure any points for the home side. Svensson was still full of praise for his fellow countryman after the game: “He played well and also scored a nice goal. He was naturally very motivated and put in a good performance.”

On the whole, the Zerofivers put in a decent performance in the first half, a sentiment that Stefan Bell echoed after a milestone game for him personally: “I thought the first half was really good. We started high and defended well. We let very little get past us, won the ball in the opposition half and scored a really nice goal in transition. We deserved to be leading at half time – everything was going well.”

Starting points on which to build: After the international break, Mainz’s next Bundesliga clash will be away at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday 16th October (15:30 CEST). Before then, the team will play in a charity match for the victims of the flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate against third division 1. FC Kaiserslautern.