Mainz welcome the League leaders to the Opel Arena
Zorc: “Be alert and don’t drop off”
Mainz will welcome an opponent, who currently have 27 points, 33 goals, still unbeaten and are top of the table to a sold out Opel Arena. With all due respect to the current best team in Germany, Sandro Schwarz has still identified phases in the game in which the front-runners could be cracked. "He is right," said BVB coach Lucien Favre.
The Swiss coach, who took over from Peter Stöger at the start of the season, emphasized in his matchday press conference that there is still much for his team to improve. "And that takes time," said Stöger. Schwarz also knows that in the phases in which BVB are not as domineering will only open up opportunities for the Zerofivers, whose players very much able to score goals and play with purpose like they did in their last victory in Freiburg or before against Werder Bremen. With speed and good incisive passing in the opponent's penalty area the home side can take advantage of the opportunities offered. That's the aim.
“Defensive work will be key”
Although the opponents have been scintillating going forward, they also have the second best defensive record in the league with only 12 goals being conceded (the same as the Zerofivers). Only Leipzig (9) have conceded less than Mainz and Dortmund. “Defensive work will of course be key,” said the Zerofiver’s coach. “Winning the second ball will be very important against such a strong offensive force. A strong defence, phases of pressure in which we have to stand firm is what we expect to come up against. They have superb quality, lots of tempo and are very creative. They show it in every game they play. Their results are convincing as well.”
The last meeting between the two teams was a high point for the Mainz players last season. Mainz won 2-1 away in Dortmund as Ridle Baku and Yoshinori Muto both scored. “Of course it is still in our memories. It was an extraordinary experience, also because Mainz 05 had never won there before,” emphasised Schwarz. Nevertheless, the games are not comparable. “We now need a better performance than what we put in Dortmund as they are much improved. We have to be prepared.”
Starting at the bottom
The Dortmund sporting director has made sure his players are not getting overconfident, even after their 3-1 victory over Bayern München and the fact that they are top of the table. “There is no reason at all to change our approach. We cannot just expect that we will play well. We can get self-confidence out of the games, but we need to realise we can still improve,” said Michael Zorc. "In Mainz on Saturday at half past three it won’t automatically be 2-0 to us, just because we have been playing well. It will be 0-0, and we really have to start each game from scratch and be fully focused. Especially now that we have received a lot of praise, we need to be even more alert."
BVB can come to Mainz with a fully-fit squad. "All players are available," said the coach, who did not comment on what his starting team will look like. In any case, there will be a reunion with Abdou Diallo, who joined the opponents at the beginning of the season. The central defender has recovered from injury after he missed the last game.