Opel Cup: Pre-season now heating up
“Real tests of endurance” is what the Mainz coach said on Saturday when talking about the games against Everton and Sevilla. An appearance from Mateta is questionable.
The hottest days of the year were on hand to welcome Mainz in Grassau, which had an impact on the training sessions themselves. After two days off, the Zerofivers trained on Thursday and Friday, at least partly in the shade in Bruchwegstadion. The session planned for Friday afternoon had to be moved to the morning at short notice, in order to reduce the burden placed on preparations for the OPEL CUP. More time to rest was also helpful considering the “two real tests of endurance” that await Mainz on Saturday.
After the breather, that the players had truly earned after eight intense days of training in Bavaria, the coach has named the OPEL CUP, which sees Mainz play Everton and Sevilla, as the stage in which pre-season will be heating up. “We’ve got the first big section behind us and in the next two weeks we want to challenge the boys in these friendlies and continue their development in all aspects of their game,” said Schwarz. The coach is well aware of the importance of these matches with the first competitive match in the DFB-Pokal against Betzenberg soon approaching (10th August, 15:30 CEST). “You can already see how important the fans and region view that game,” said Schwarz, when mentioning the sold-out derby game in the DFB-Pokal. The 40-year-old described the situation as “outstanding” adding, “The excitement starts with us now.”
Intensity the main point
The intensity is set to increase, starting with the OPEL CUP where the team will play two 60 minute games against the teams from England and Spain, and then playing two 90 minute games in a week against Metz. The pre-season program is set to outline the intensity expected over the season. “Preparation comes with intensity”, is what the Mainz coach said when acknowledging how prepared you need to be considering challenges that come within a Bundesliga season.
The minutes for each player will now gradually increase until the first competitive game. “Tomorrow we will use 20 players over the course of the match. It won’t just be an A and B team. The tournament at the weekend and the two games against Metz will be really good yard sticks for us,” said the head coach. The opportunity to make a statement for themselves mean that the OPEL CUP will see almost every Mainz player available in the OPEL ARENA. The only exceptions are Jean-Philippe Mateta after a blow to the knee in training on Thursday, Jonathan Meier (muscle problem), and Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Kunde Malong (both with extended holiday after Africa Cup of Nations). Players that are still recovering from injury include Phillipp Mwene, Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel and Dong-Won Ji. Following on from the OPEL CUP, the Mainz players will be heading to the next part of their pre-season programme: the team presentation at the Mainz Summer Lights in the heart of the city, with an autograph session included.
- 13:00 CEST: Everton vs. Sevilla
- 14:30 CEST: Mainz 05 vs. Sevilla
- 16:00 CEST: Mainz vs Everton