Pros 25.08.2022 — 11:46 Uhr

Onisiwo: "I was a bit surprised that it was me"

With his opening goal in Augsburg, Onisiwo fired himself into the history books. He now has the most direct goal contributions in Mainz's history.

Onisiwo has bagged three times already this season.

 

Karim Onisiwo was still celebrating a first away win in Augsburg since 2016, when we found out that he had also written himself into the history books of Mainz 05. With his second half goal to put FSV 1-0 up, the Austrian became the outright top goal contributor (goals and assists) for Mainz, pulling ahead of Yunus Malli. "It’s not like I was focussing on it or was specifically working towards it, so I was a bit surprised that it was me," said Onisiwo. "But it is obviously nice that the performance was marked this way."

It is a performance that he would love to build upon further in the MEWA ARENA on Saturday (15:30 CEST), when they host Bayern Leverkusen. "We are at still at the beginning of the season, only three games have been played, so I hope that there are still a few goals to come." The Mainz forward knows, however, that it will be no easy game against Leverkusen, who are yet to record any points, a "dangerous starting point", according to Onisiwo: "If you are at the bottom, you can only go up." The formula against an opposition of such quality is not just one of defensive solidity: "We have to be ice-cold in front of goal, like last season. In no way will we underestimate the challenge. We know what is facing us and have the experience not to think that we are a much better team just because we have seven points to our name. We know where we stand and have to show on Saturday that we are better than them."

"I believe that the fact I never give up makes me stand out"

Having been at Mainz since 2016, Onisiwo is the club’s longest-serving player. The step-up to the Bundesliga from the Austrian Bundesliga, where he had played for half a year with SV Mattersburg, was initially huge. "My first game in Dortmund was something else. At the beginning, I was injured a lot, I had to work my way back again and again," explained the 30-year-old, who has matured into a key player and essential part of the FSV attack in recent years.

This is an impression that you get a lot through the Austrian’s career, which didn’t take the traditional route of being in a club’s youth set-up. "At 18, 19 years-old Jonny [Burkardt] had already played in the Bundesliga, while at that age I was in the Austrian fourth division, so there is a clear contrast," said Onisiwo. "I think that the fact I never give up makes me stand out. You can see that from a young age. At the end of the day you are rewarded if you keep going and working hard."

Onisiwo on matchday 33 away at Stuttgart in the 2015/16 season
First goal and first assist for Mainz: Onisiwo on matchday 33 away at Stuttgart in the 2015/16 season (Photo: IMAGO/Jan Huebner)

A team player and full of confidence

Onisiwo has recorded 25 goals and 23 assists at the club. He is ever a team player, as demonstrated not only be his numerous assists, but also in situations like at the weekend, when he allowed Aarón to take the penalty. "I wanted to take it, because I had already scored, and felt self-confident during the game. But Aarón said that he also felt good. I am not one who wants to stand in someone’s way in a situation like that because then I couldn’t really enjoy it. We are a team where if someone feels good and it makes sense then he should take it."

Nevertheless, the Mainz striker would like to build on the goals already scored and record more than the seven goals he scored in his best ever goal-scoring season in 2018/19. The goals he has scored in the first few matchdays has given him a push in the right direction. "I always work on my finishing after training, all the attacking players do that. When you score two goals straight away in the first game then you are more confident than if you need longer to get your first goal. I have started well, now I have to keep going, keep a clear head and score more goals for the team."

I feel that again this season

The good start to the season ("since I have been here I can’t remember one better") is above all an incentive for the Austrian, who feels personally, but above all that the team is on the right path. "When I arrived in 2016 we were playing Europa League football and had a brilliant group of players and a great atmosphere. I feel that again this season, it is even better because a lot of players have stayed and only a few left. The new signings have made us stronger, we have become stronger in attack. We needed that, now we can keep going and score in the last minutes, like in Augsburg. Through that you are able to win more points here and there." Mainz also have the numerous goals and assist from Karim Onisiwo to thank.