Mainz looks to regain success
Ahead of their upcoming home game against Freiburg, Mainz’s head coach is pushing for a more aggressive and committed defensive showing, as well as calling for support from the hometown fans.
It’s been a while since Mainz 05 had something to cheer about. Since their 3-0 victory against Schalke 04, the team has suffered four consecutive losses—something they hope will change on Friday night. “We want to start the match on Friday the same way we’ve shown we can play many times already this season. We’re ready and looking forward to having something to celebrate again,” said Sandro Schwarz during a press conference two days before the match at home against SC Freiburg (20:30 CEST). “In order to do that, we need the support of the fans,” said the Mainz head coach.
After facing criticism for the team’s lack of success recently, including last weekend’s 1-3 loss to SV Werder Bremen, Schwarz is urging fans to focus on the future. “It’s obvious that we’re not happy either with how the last few weeks have gone. Right now, what matters for us is to create a great atmosphere in the stadium for the fans, to show what it means to be part of Mainz 05, and to have a successful game against Freiburg,” said the 40-year-old.
Making a strong showing during training
Both the team and their head coach were clearly frustrated last Saturday. During a video session the following day, the coaching staff focused on what will need to change in order for Mainz to win a game. As a result, after the team’s first public training session this week, fans came to praise the players for their level of preparedness and mindset heading into Friday’s match. So, what’s missing still that’s causing Mainz to continue to allow so many goals against?
According to Schwarz, a key point is as follows: the intensity of one-on-one challenges has to be better. Players need to stick close to their man, something that was missing during key situations lately. “It’s important for us as a team to keep our defensive shape—to mark closely, to keep up with our opponent, and to give it an extra five percent. Trusting in our defence is something we need as a team—if we don’t put in the effort, then we won’t see any success. We need to be more aggressive in every position in order to come out with the result we want.”
A chance to turn things around
According to Schwarz, the team’s lack of success recently has nothing to do with tactics or weaknesses in their formation. “It’s nothing that basic and can’t be compared with last season. If you pay attention you’ll see that we have a very structured game plan. We don’t just kick the ball forward and wait to see what will happen. We’ve managed to get 30 points so far this season—no one gave us those, we worked hard to achieve them. Right now, it’s about getting back to the way we know we can play.”
“The games we’ve lost and the concern that this has caused has gotten rid of any feelings of complacency over the last few weeks, if there were any. Now, we have another chance to turn things around in our favour,” said Schwarz. “This is the first time this season that we’ve been in this position. It’s annoying and frustrating, but we’re focused on what’s still to come. We want to give the players the feeling that they’re capable of turning this around.”