Kohr full of confidence ahead of meeting with old club
The midfielder is pleased to be a permanent member of Mainz’s squad after his loan spell and wants to take revenge for last season’s defeat at FCA this weekend. “We weren’t ready back then. That simply cannot happen again,” demanded Kohr.
It’s been a good start to the season for Mainz with four points from two league games and a place in the second round of the DFB-Pokal secured. Bo Svensson’s side earned a hard-fought point in the heat against Union Berlin last time out. “A good start is really important for us – it has given us a really good feeling. We know we’re in good shape. This is the kind of start we’d imagined,” explained Dominik Kohr three days before the next game, a trip to play his former side FC Augsburg (Saturday, 20/8/22, 15:30 CEST). Kohr feels his team can travel south full of confidence on the back of the good start, even if everything hasn’t been perfect so far.
“We saw against Union that we are solid at the back. However, we didn’t create our chances well enough. We have to improve on that,” said the midfielder. “We knew before playing Union that it wouldn’t be an attractive game of football. That’s normal when two teams with the same kind of plan come up against each other. It wasn’t a fun game for the fans to watch, but it was an intense game for us and we did really well for large parts of it.”
We saw against Union that we are solid at the back
Things are going well too for the central midfielder. ‘Dome’ has played every minute so far in the league and opened the scoring in the cup win at Aue. The 28-year-old’s main aim for this season was to avoid injuries, having suffered from a thigh problem last year. He also wants to help the team with his physical presence and chip in with the odd goal too. He still believes the team has enough leaders, even with the departure of some key players like captain Moussa Niakhaté.
“Other players in the team now have to step up, even lads that may not otherwise have been in the spotlight. Silvan has brilliantly taken on his role as captain and is leading from the front. That’s how it should be,” commented Kohr, who is pleased to finally be a permanent member of the squad after spending one and a half years on loan at the club. “I always said that I felt right at home here from day one and that I will always give my all for the team. However, being on loan or being at a club permanently does make a difference. I now know that I can give 100% here in the coming years and I don’t have to worry about if I’ll be staying here in the summer.”
Kohr played for Augsburg from 2014 to 2017, appearing 102 times for them in all competitions. He has therefore played more games in his career for FCA than for any other side. The midfielder was on the pitch during Mainz’s last win at Augsburg, back on matchday 3 of 2016/17. “I think I got injured in that game,” remembered the German. He was referring to the incident where José Rodriguez fouled the then-Augsburg man just before the final whistle and was sent off in a 3-1 win for the Zerofivers. Kohr suffered a deep cut to his thigh and was subsequently ruled out for four weeks. “I was lucky in the end that nothing was broken and I could return relatively quickly.” Kohr and FCA ended that season in 13th, one point clear of Wolfsburg (16th) and Mainz (15th). He then returned to Leverkusen, his former side, that summer. ‘Dome’ moved initially to Mainz on loan in January 2021 from Frankfurt.
If we play like we can, we can beat anyone
The return to his former stomping ground on Saturday will be special for Kohr, even if lots has changed since his move to Leverkusen five years ago. “There are only a few lads left from my time there. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see a few familiar faces around the place. Hopefully I can have some banter with them after we’ve won the game,” said Kohr, hoping Mainz can end their long losing streak at the WWK Arena this weekend.
A better mentality needed
In comparison to the game there last season, the former Germany youth international wants to see an improved mentality from his team. “Teams that want to beat us should have to play intense football and really fight for it. We showed that last season against Augsburg at home (4-1 H), but they showed us how they can beat us at their place (2-1 A). We weren’t ready back then. That simply cannot happen again. We want to go there and put things right. We can travel there with confidence and if we play like we can, we can beat anyone,” he said.