Pros 07.04.2021 — 15:44 Uhr

"LIFE AS A STRIKER IS NOT SO EASY HERE AT THE MOMENT".

Karim Onisiwo is a guest on the podcast "UffgeBAST & RangeKLOTZt - Der 05ER.fm Audiobeweis": The Austrian international talks about the unusual start to his football career.

Even a few days after the 1-1 draw against Arminia Bielefeld, the frustration about the game is still palpable for Karim Onisiwo: "It just remains two lost points," says the 29-year-old attacker. "And it's the old saying: if you don't score the second goal, you'll concede one at the back, and that's exactly what happened at the weekend." The Austrian international was a guest on the club's podcast this week, where he spoke not only about Mainz's current sporting situation, but also about how he discovered his passion for football at the age of four and a half.

"I was out with my mother in the city and we were at a street crossing," the native Viennese recalls, "and I was bad again and didn't listen to her. I kicked her in the shins and ran away across the street, looking back to see if she was chasing me, but of course she wasn't as fast as me. Finally, I literally ran into the arms of the coach who was in charge of the youth team at Favoritner SC. He then said that I was quite fast and spoke to my mother to ask if I wouldn't like to come along for a trial training session." No sooner said than done. That same afternoon, Karim was on the training pitch, which was only a minute away from his flat. A memorable start to a football career that eventually led him to Mainz in 2016.

...we have become a real unit

"My fifth year in Mainz is starting now and of course I feel very comfortable, otherwise I wouldn't be here anymore," says Onisiwo. His contract runs until 2022, and even if there is no room or time for thoughts about the future in the relegation battle, there is still a tendency: "With Christian Heidel and Martin Schmidt, two gentlemen who brought me to Mainz back then are now here again. So I am confident that we will sit down together in the next few weeks or months."

But for now, the focus is on securing another year of Bundesliga football for Mainz 05. The next challenge awaits on Sunday with an away game at direct rivals 1. FC Köln. "We definitely want to extend our lead over Cologne. We didn't miss much against Bielefeld and on Sunday we will try to seal the game and take the three points." In addition to the team's "team spirit", the striker is also reassured and confident by the instructions that head coach Bo Svensson gives his team before every game: "He talks very precisely about what we will be facing at the weekend. And when that happens, it leads to you being able to adjust really well as a player, and that builds confidence, also in the whole team. So the cohesion grows in the whole team and we have become a real unit."

Improving efficiency

Of course, the 29-year-old wouldn't mind if the Zerofivers offensive department could contribute a goal or two to the hoped-for away victory this weekend. After the departure of JP Mateta, defender Moussa Niakhaté (together with Kevin Stöger) still leads the team's scoring list with three goals. "Life as a striker is not so easy here at the moment," Onisiwo says with a laugh. "But of course our chance-taking is a topic of discussion internally in the team. We talk about it, also with the coaches, that we do special exercises in training to improve. But honestly, if we stay in the league on matchday 34 with Moussa as our internal top scorer, none of us will have a problem with that."