Newcomers in the limelight
Schröder: “The fact that we have found the right players through our scouting system shows that we are working well.”
For the players, the summer holiday is now underway. Florian Müller and Levin Öztunali have travelled to a training camp with the Germany U21’s provisional squad prior to the U21s Euros that will take place between 16th to 30th June. Moussa Niakhaté and Jean-Philippe Mateta will be there with France whilst Aaron Martin will travel with Spain. Kunde Malong and Jean-Philippe Gbamin will play in the Africa Cup with their respective nations. In our overview of the season, we will look at the personal developments in the Zerofiver’s team.
Jean-Paul Boëtius put in a great performance during the last game of the season; scoring twice in a 4-2 victory over Hoffenheim. The attacking midfielder, who previously played for the Netherlands national team, has played a big part in the Zerofiver’s playing style. “He has everything,” said Sandro Schwarz. “He has played a big role in his position. He has to constantly be moving, can’t stay out wide, has to be involved in a lot of the play and find space for himself. We signed him as a left winger but he now plays in the no. 10 position.” The 25-year-old knows himself that he still has a lot to improve on next season. “I need to improve my stats,” he said. Twelve involvements in goals is a decent number but he has also convinced as one of the best players at pressing.
Mateta: Goal scorer with 14 goals
Mateta, who has scored 14 goals, has profited from Boëtius’ passing. The other Zerofivers strikers Robin Quaison, Anthony Ujah and Karim Onisiwo were used to pair up with Mateta up front. Also noticeable this season was the attacking quality of Aaron Martin, the left-back who joined Mainz 05 from Espanyol Barcelona. Niakhaté also made a name for himself having put in many strong performances over the duration of the season. All these players have worked together to keep the ideologies of the coach in place.
Rouven Schröder sees no problem in the fact that the new players have done well: “The fact that we have found the right players through our scouting system shows that we are working well.”Aaron is the most expensive transfer in the Zerofiver’s history. “Even if there is interest, you can say no. It can be difficult to replace quality players. We were able to say no last year with Gbamin.” It is not in the best interests of the club that players will leave after a year at the club. The case of Abdou Diallo was that too much money was offered to say no.
The coach calls his top scorer as an example: “It is not possible for a striker playing in the French second division to take a step up immediately after one year. Mateta is developing well here but he is not complete yet. There is still a lot of things to work on.” It is always about telling the players where they can go with Mainz 05. “Then the time can come, to depart to a big club and hopefully they can say they enjoyed their time with us,” said Schwarz.
Barreiro celebrates debut
Ridle Baku missed out during the second half of the injury having struggled with an injury but will compete for a starting birth during pre-season. Three other young players, Jonathan Burkardt, Ahmet Gürleyen and Leandro Barreiro, who all celebrated their Bundesliga debut have asserted themselves in the squad. Barreiro will join up with the Luxembourg national team in the 11th June and will therefore start pre-season a week later than the rest. “Leo did very well this season and has become a role model for all the youngsters,” said Sandro Schwarz. “He is now a part of the first team squad.”