NOTHING GAINED, NOTHING LOST
Mixed Mainz feelings after achieving the minimum goal against Bielefeld - Svensson: "We stay true to our line".
After the last international break of the season, the clash with Arminia Bielefeld has heralded something like the season's final spurt, and the battle to stay in the league is coming to a head. Even professional optimists among the 05 fans would not have thought it possible in the first few weeks of the year that Mainz - although the disappointment about the draw against the promoted team clearly prevailed after the final whistle on Saturday afternoon - has now put itself in a situation where it can remain in the top flight by its own doing. All the more reason to keep calm, not to want too much and with all your might at once, to accept minor setbacks as well as moments of struggling and to subordinate everything to the big goal.
There was no question after the final whistle that the Rheinhessen side had been closer to the three points against Arminia than their opponents over the course of 90 minutes and had created a clear majority of promising situations. Just like the final result, a 1-1 draw, about which the guests could be more pleased after Andreas Voglsammer had been able to equalise Daniel Brosinski's penalty with a lucky shot. It had been the only real scoring opportunity of the East Westphalians, whereas the Zerofivers - and here also the head coach started to criticise - had often acted too carelessly or unfocused in the final third. "We created the more dangerous moments, but we failed to finish them cleanly enough in the final third. After the lead we have to do better, not defensively, the goal against was hard to prevent. But we have to make a second goal from the many promising situations," said Bo Svensson. The main shortcomings of the Dane were not only the goals, but also the final passes and processes in which his team lacked precision. Examples of this were the situations in the second half, when Karim Onisiwo's cross to Phillipp Mwene was too inaccurate, or Danny da Costa's sharp cross, which Leo Barreiro missed by inches. A scene in which a pass to Ádám Szalai might have been the better option.
Nevertheless, we did not reach our performance limit...
The 05 players around Phillipp Mwene were also self-critical after the seventh draw of the season: "I'm not exactly happy. It's more a feeling that we lost two points. We were superior in terms of chances and possession, we should have rewarded ourselves more. There were two or three situations in which we lacked the final touch," said the full-back. Jonny Burkardt, who won the penalty to give the team the lead, identified a further deficit: "We had good chances and were defensively well-positioned. Nevertheless, we did not reach our performance limit today. We have to improve that in the coming weeks," said the U21 international. The fact that the Zerofivers still have room for improvement after a second half of the season in which they have 18 points from ten matches so far should be a positive sign ahead of further key matches with Cologne, Hertha BSC and Werder Bremen. The belief in staying in the league has long been deeply anchored around the Bruchweg again, knowing full well how long and difficult the road can still be as the season progresses.
"Minimum goal" achieved - philosophy as an anchor
Despite all the disappointment at having missed the opportunity to distance a direct competitor who had seemingly lost ground in the winter to four points, the sporting director emphasised that the minimum goal had been achieved: "Actually, you have to win this game," said Martin Schmidt, who then referred to a fact that is not always self-evident. If it is not enough for three points, you should at least not lose. "In this respect, nothing happened, except one more point in the fight to stay in the league. Bielefeld is certainly a little more satisfied, but we are still on target," the Swiss emphasised. And indeed: if Mainz, now undefeated for four games (2 wins, 2 draws), continue the trend that has led them to fifth place in the second-round standings, the likelihood of their twelfth Bundesliga year in a row from the summer is extremely high. One will complete now a good training week, stressed Svensson still with view of the hurdle of 1. FC Cologne on the coming Sunday evening (6pm CET). The head coach emphasised this again on Saturday, and will apply as always: "We stay true to our line." A philosophy that has proven to be a promising stylistic device in the course of the year so far.