“It has always been true that…”
It all starts on Saturday, it's the opening game of the 2019/20 season against SC Freiburg.
The Zerofivers coach sets the highest standards for the team: “We’re not satisfied with just doing the easy things”
Preparations for the new Bundesliga season have been going on for seven weeks now. 1. FSV Mainz 05 start their campaign away to SC Freiburg on Saturday, in what will be their 11th consecutive season in the top division since their promotion in 2009. “We want to get the best possible result on Saturday and hopefully kick the season off with an away win,” said sporting director Rouven Schröder as he outlined his aims for the season opener.
The three games the team played in May of this year are still in the minds of the players, since they marked an insatiable rise to form for the Zerofivers. A 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig, after going 2-0 down, followed by a 2-0 win in the derby against Eintracht Frankfurt and finally an exciting 4-2 win at the OPEL ARENA against Hoffenheim (again after going 2-0 down) showed how much the team has developed, not just physically but mentally too. The Mainz head coach wants the current squad to pick up where they left off last season. However, the 40-year old now in his third year as head coach, has warned the team not to put too much pressure on themselves.
Reaping the rewards of their labour
“It has always been true that survival is never a given. Those who choose not to believe it can do as they please, but it’s true,” said the head coach during the week. “That doesn’t mean that we should be going in to the season just looking to avoid relegation. For us it should be about developing our game even further and turning that into results. We’re performance athletes; we deal in results, and we’re working on how to get these results. We’re not satisfied with just doing the easy tasks; we always want to go the extra mile, set the highest standards for ourselves and then reap the rewards of our labour. In order to do that, we can’t take anything for granted.”
Schwarz has prepared his squad thoroughly for the game against Freiburg. The coach sat down with the players before the trip to Breisgau and laid out the aims, principles and playing style that should define how our game. “We discussed how we’re going to conduct ourselves during league games and how we’re going to go about getting wins.“
Two new Koreans at Freiburg
Mainz didn’t encounter too many problems last season when playing SC Freiburg, winning 3-1 in Freiburg before pummeling Christian Streich’s side 5-0 at the Opel Arena.
The Freiburg coach doesn’t have the same team at his disposal either, with loanee Vincenzo Grifo going back to parent-club Hoffenheim and Jonathan Schmid returning to Augsburg. The core of the team remains the same though. They have also added a pair of South Korea internationals in Chang-hun Kwon, who arrives from French first-division outfit Dijon FCO, and Woo-yeong Jeong from Bayern Munich’s second team, who scored 13 goals in 29 games en route to gaining promotion for his side last season.
On Saturday, Schwarz is expecting to face “an aggressive team whose game is based around intensity off the ball.” The opponents are at a really high level both technically and tactically. “We have to be on the front foot and move the ball well,” said the Zerofivers coach. These are the foundations for a successful opening weekend in the 2019/20 season.