Pros 15.03.2022 — 18:47 Uhr

Looking forward to the challenge against BVB

It’s unclear which players will be able to feature in Wednesday’s postponed fixture and the team will be decided at short notice. However, the fans and players alike will want to create a special atmosphere under the floodlights.

Bo Svensson will relish the challenge against second-placed Dortmund

1. FSV Mainz 05 have not played a Bundesliga match since 26th February, after a plethora of Covid-19 cases in the first team set-up. There is however light at the end of the tunnel. On Wednesday evening, the Zerofivers will welcome Borussia Dortmund to a sold-out MEWA ARENA (18:30 CET), to play their postponed fixture that was originally scheduled for Matchday 25. It is still uncertain which players will be available for the game and the team will have to be picked at short notice. “The rest of the players are all out of self-isolation. However, all the players are at different fitness levels,” said Bo Svensson in today’s press conference. Despite all the uncertainty in the build-up to the game, the gaffer is more than ready for the challenge: “It’s not been the ideal preparation but we are really looking forward to the game. We have used our time the best we can to prepare ourselves to face BVB.”

Every day is a school day at the moment for FSV. Mainz. “You have to be flexible,” stressed Svensson, whose players have all tested negative, but may not all be available to play in the upcoming match against Borussia Dortmund. Health comes above everything else, of course. “They’re all at different levels of readiness. Most players are making good progress every day in training, but a match is much more different compared to a training session. We’ll need to see how the lads get on in training.” The Dane cannot yet confirm who will be starting in between the sticks for the Zerofivers, but he adds that they do not want to moan about that and instead, do the best with what they’ve got and put up a good and passionate fight against one of the league’s top sides. “One thing’s for sure, is that we’ll have a team out on the pitch who are capable of competing.” Delano Burgzorg is not an option for Bo Svensson. The Dutch attacker has contracted myocarditis following a positive Coronavirus case, and neither are suspended players Alexander Hack and Dominik Kohr, nor the injured Finn Dahmen and Jeremiah St. Juste.

We always need the fans

Svensson still has fond memories of the opening match of the season when Mainz defeated RB Leipzig 1-0 despite having many players missing on that day. “There are similarities to that game but also some differences. More lads have been ill in the build-up to this game which has made it somewhat more complicated,” commented Svensson. However, the Zerofivers, whose home record this season has been outstanding, want to achieve something special with the fans behind them. “We’ll see again just what the team and the fans are capable of doing when they work together. I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to get points against one of the top sides. But since I’ve been head coach here, we’ve always emphasised that it’s about more than many other things alongside just staying in the Bundesliga.” He says that the FSV fans will once again be an important part of the match. “We definitely wouldn’t have been as successful if all our matches were played behind closed doors. We always need the fans,” added Svensson.

A good feeling

The gradual return of Svensson’s players during this week of training has certainly helped to raise his spirits. “The lads are glad to be getting back slowly but surely. We’ve thought a lot about what we’ve all experienced recently. But when I go out onto the touchline and see my team again, it’ll be a nice feeling. I think the players will also feel the same.” This combination of enjoyment and the required concentration and intensity will ensure the continued success of Mainz 05.

Many things didn’t go as planned in the past two-and-a-half weeks at FSV, but Svensson and his coaching staff have enjoyed some form of normality when it comes to opposition analysis. It’s clear for the Zerofivers head coach: “We’re playing against a top team, who have a chance to make the title race exciting once again. They’ll be really motivated when they come here,” the Dane is epecting to face a BVB side who won’t ease up and who will have one of the best strikers in world football in Erling Haaland back playing for them. “When he plays, the game completely changes. He has so many good qualities, he’s a complete player, and his attitude transcends over the rest of his team,” commented Svensson. 

Svensson: “We definitely wouldn’t have been as successful if all our matches were played behind closed doors. We always need the fans.”

We need to be ready for a contest and seen what we can get out of the game. But we want to play our own game

Despite that, the head coach still wants his side to play their usual style as well as they can and not completely abandon their methods. “We need to be ready for a contest and seen what we can get out of the game. But we want to play our own game,” added Svensson.