Pros 24.05.2023 — 19:05 Uhr

Kohr: "That is always Mainz 05’s main target"

The midfielder wants to end the season on a high in Dortmund. The team is not worrying about BVB’s potential title.

Kohr had to wear a mask due to a small fracture in the game against VfB Stuttgart last Sunday.

Strangely, Dominik Kohr has never played away against Borussia Dortmund in his two and a half years with Mainz 05, and has only taken them on once at home with the club. The midfielder was suspended for both matches last season after receiving red cards in both games against Union Berlin (MD7, MD24). He was also serving a ban for five yellow cards in the reverse fixture in January, so he will finally get the chance to try and beat Borussia for the first time in 14 attempts in all competitions this Saturday (15:30 CEST).

All eyes on Dortmund

The small facial fracture Kohr suffered in training will not stop him from featuring on matchday 34. Just as he did last time out against VfB Stuttgart, the defensive midfielder will wear a protective mask. “This ensures that I won’t make it any worse,” he explained. Kohr was happy he was still able to play last weekend – and will be able to this Saturday – despite his injury.

The 29-year-old isn’t any more excited for this game than any normal one, even if the hosts have the chance to win the league. Nonetheless, he is looking forward to the “special atmosphere” the yellow wall provides, which should be even louder given the occasion. “The stadium will be absolutely packed. We know how important this game is for Dortmund,” said Kohr.

Kohr gets stuck in against FC Schalke 04’s Rodrigo Zalazar.

The “main target” achieved

The Mainz players will simply be focusing on themselves this weekend. “We’re looking forward to the game and want to play well. We want to put things right after our recent four-game losing run and end the season on a high,” said the man from Trier, who believes it’s been an excellent season, in which FSV secured safety well before the end of the campaign and were never even near the bottom of the table. “That’s Mainz 05’s main target and we’ve achieved that.”

That’s Mainz 05’s main target and we’ve achieved that.

The fact that Mainz, “a smaller club,” were in the race to qualify for European football at one stage shows the positive development of the club over the last two years, even if FSV have endured a disappointing run of four straight defeats directly after a 10-game unbeaten run. Kohr feels that if you consider the overall process, everyone, including Svensson, should be satisfied right now.

One final game

The club will look back on what the team was missing for a higher finish in the table over the summer, just as they did last year. Kohr himself believes the reason for the recent poor run has been the defence’s “lack of desire to defend their own goal in recent weeks.” This weakness is evident when you consider that FSV conceded 13 goals in these four matches against VfL Wolfsburg, Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart – the exact number of goals the side let in across their 12 previous games combined. “This just shows why we lost all these games,” stated Kohr. “Even with our own strong attack, we cannot afford to concede so many goals.”

Before a detailed analysis begins in pre-season, Kohr & Co. want to go into the summer break “with a good feeling” in order to really enjoy it. “Our full focus is on ourselves,” said the midfielder. BVB’s home record of 14 wins, one draw and one loss will provide the Mainz team with some additional motivation, as they look to become just the second side to win in Dortmund this season. “I’m certain that we can get something there with the quality of our side,” commented Kohr, who also believes the pressure on Borussia could play a role: “It could get too much for them and we will then get more space.”

Kohr has scored three goals in 29 Bundesliga games this season, a personal best.

Compact at the back, quality in attack

One thing is for sure: Mainz will need to withstand periods of pressure and sit deeper due to “the quality Dortmund possess,” admitted the 29-year-old. FSV, however, aren’t short of examples of how to successfully deal with top teams, having beaten both Leipzig and FC Bayern already in 2023. “It’s extremely difficult to score a goal against us if we defend as a team,” said Kohr. “We can always be dangerous at the other end too once we win the ball back, especially if they are open at the back.”

It’s extremely difficult to score a goal against us if we defend as a team.

Kohr could return to his normal position in defensive midfield against BVB. “I’m happy to play where the coach needs me and I just try to perform wherever,” explained the 29-year-old, who was used as a centre-back against Stuttgart last Sunday. He saw the new role as a good chance to learn things from his teammates back there. Nevertheless, coach Bo Svensson knows how good Kohr is as a midfielder. His aggression, for example, is something more useful in that part of the pitch – something Kohr wants to show in Dortmund on Saturday.