One more game to go before some emotional goodbyes
Final game of the season against TSG Hoffenheim – a number of goodbyes after the final whistle
There’s only one more game to go in the 2018/19 season. 1. FSV Mainz 05 would like to follow up last week’s derby win at Frankfurt against TSG Hoffenheim at home on Saturday (15:30 CEST9. “All we want to do is win one more time and make our passionate fans happy,” said Sandro Schwarz at the press conference, two days before the match.
Mainz’s sporting director has similar hopes for the game. “The last few weeks at the club have been very positive. They have put everybody in a good mood. We are looking forward to the last game and want to finish the season on a high,” said Rouven Schröder. One good omen ahead of the game is that it’s unlikely to be a relaxed kick-around, where both teams have nothing left to play for. One reason for that is the high-scoring history of the fixture. The Zerofivers could also finish the season with 43 points if they win, which would secure a highly satisfying 11th place in the table. Hoffenheim also need the points to try and secure a European place.
None of them will be unmotivated
Schwarz is expecting to face a Hoffenheim side that is dangerous going forwards and has a number of different strikers. They are also a team that have a number of quality footballers, but can also defend well. “The game will mean a lot to them for two different reasons: Their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League and Julian Nagelsmann’s last game. It could be really tense for them,” said Schwarz. “Obviously they will want to give their coach a good send-off and also reach Europe next year. It would be naïve of us to assume any differently. It will be very hard to beat them.”
A similar performance to the last few games will definitely be required, in all areas of the pitch. The team can probably not finish tenth anymore, but the head coach is still happy, despite not reaching his goal. “We were quickly happy with our situation in the Rückrunde after winning our first two games. After we secured our safety, we knew that we had to set ourselves another aim, so that we didn’t start relaxing too much. The lads have carried on working hard. We have played well and always played to win. You could see this positive attitude in training too. The best performances recently came against RB Leipzig and then the highlight was in Frankfurt. Now we want the final conformation for our good form.” It would be nice to go into the summer break with that winning feeling. The 40-year-old coach also added: “We’re all looking forward to it.”
Bungert to start?
The players are also up for the final game of the season. “We also have plenty of reasons to win,” stressed Schwarz. “We want to end the season well and also say goodbye to Niko Bungert and Klaus Hafner in the best possible way. We want to use this to our advantage. Hopefully our fans will create another great atmosphere. It would be a great feeling to play well and win again.”
It will be recommended that fans don't go home straight after the final whistle as there will be farewell ceremonies. Our long-term stadium announcer and also the Zerofiver's club captain will be given a farewell by the sporting director. It will be hoped that Bungert will get a final game in the Zerofiver's kit this weekend. Alexander Hack picked up a knock in his thigh and therefore is a doubt for the game. Robin Quaison is definitely unavailable having picked up an ankle injury.