Pros 23.03.2021 — 11:50 Uhr

MORE IMPORTANT THAN A SNAPSHOT

Uncomfortable, intense, passionate: Zerofivers show the right spirit in Hoffenheim / "Important that we stay true to our path".

The Zerofivers, including Moussa Niakhaté, had the upper hand in most duels against TSG Hoffenheim.

One thing has distinguished Mainz 05 since Bo Svensson took charge in the second half of the season: They are once again an uncomfortable opponent. The Rheinhessen have brought their identity back onto the pitch, are strong in running and tackling and do not let themselves be knocked down by setbacks. That was also evident in the deserved away win against TSG Hoffenheim. "We were the more aggressive team and made life difficult for Hoffenheim with intensity and close spacing," said the 05 head coach. A tackle win rate of 61% and, with 124.84 kilometres ran, almost four kilometres more than the hosts covered and what Martin Schmidt declared: "We have shown as a club that there is life in it again," the sporting director told DAZN about the steps taken so far in this tight relegation battle.

Life in the Mainz team was evident from the kick-off in the Sinsheim Arena, despite an unusually early kick-off time. Robert Glatzel picked up the pace and attacked Hoffenheim defender Christopher Richards in the opposition penalty area after just a few seconds, took the ball from him and scored on his debut in the starting eleven to take the lead, "Robert did well. Of course we got off to a good start with that goal," said Svensson, whose team could have followed it up immediately. A self-satisfaction did not arise at any stage, which the head coach of the Zerofivers had already emphasised before the game in Hoffenheim, is another building block of the Rheinhessen's success.

In phases when things are not going so well, like the equaliser in the first half, or at the beginning of the second 45 minutes, the Zerofivers can always add to the score. Be it in the form of the direct response to the equaliser with the goal by "header monster Dominik Kohr" (Svensson) and the renewed lead shortly before the break, or with fresh forces to not let up in intensity until the end. That is what distinguishes the group, the Dane said. "For all the disappointment of sitting on the bench. The boys come in and deliver. We were also more dangerous than the opponent, I don't think Hoffenheim had a great chance to score in the second half. But we still have to score a few goals," said the Mainz head coach, addressing the Zerofivers' only shortcoming: They could have decided the game earlier. "At the same time, it also shows the spirit, how confidently we defended it until the end."

Staying true to your own path

Overall, the coach, sporting director and players were very satisfied with the performance in Kraichgau. "The decisive thing is that we first deliver more than all the other teams in terms of running and fighting. Then we also have the quality to play good football," said Glatzel and Svensson also expressed his liking: "In the end, it was a very good performance, also in the way we want to present ourselves. It is important for us to stay true to our way."

We also need to know why we won the game and in which direction we want to go. That is more important than a snapshot in the table.

The Zerofivers also remain true to their substantive approach of not concentrating on things like being 15th place in the table, which they now occupy after the 26th matchday. Enjoying the feeling of success while not losing focus on the substantive development is what Svensson and his coaching team stand for in their work with their team. "We also need to know why we won the game and what direction we want to go in. That is more important than a snapshot in the table. That is why we are staying on. There were also a few things we can improve today," emphasised the 41-year-old, also with a view to the work in the upcoming international break, which for the Rheinhessen side also includes a friendly match against second-division side FC Nürnberg on Thursday, 25 March (2pm) (05ER.tv will broadcast in live stream). After that, the Red and Whites want to be ready for the next important Bundesliga match on Saturday, 03 April (15:30 CET) at the OPEL ARENA. Arminia Bielefeld, a direct competitor in the relegation battle, will be our guests.