Pros 11.11.2021 — 09:28 Uhr

“Recognition and love from the fans”

Mainz head coach Bo Svensson had nothing but praise for the atmosphere inside the MEWA ARENA. He also spoke about the close bond with the academy and explained how he will organise training amid the interruption of the international break.

The gaffer conducts the team from the sidelines.

Bo Svensson’s side has looked solid and full of aggression in recent weeks. Mainz have bounced back from four winless matches with some convincing and at times even intoxicating displays of football. Friday night's clash with Borussia Mönchengladbach made it four games without defeat for the first time since Svensson took charge. Surely that means it's not the ideal time for an international break? The Dane disagrees, and he explained why at a press conference on Tuesday. He also had special praise for the atmosphere around the club.

The gaffer, with nine players away on international duty and only ten first-teamers available, took the opportunity to hold a training game on Tuesday. 13 outfielders plus the goalkeepers from the U23 side took part and had the opportunity to prove themselves alongside members of the senior squad. It was a welcome change of pace, said Svensson, as well as an opportunity for the Mainz youngsters to test themselves at the highest level. The head coach believes that the close connection to the academy is of great importance:

"Ever since I arrived here we've always tried to ensure that the U23s have the same stimuli and content in their training. That means that there's less of a jump to the senior side. The same also goes for the U19s and the whole academy. We want to prepare the lads as best we can for what is to come because there is a big difference in the speed and intensity of the challenges. They can settle in quicker when their bodies are prepared for that intensity to some degree. It's in all of our interests for them to make that transition as smoothly as possible.” Svensson, though, also explained that he continues to see Mainz lagging behind the competition in terms of cooperation with the academy. “We have the clear aim of bringing things even closer together. We want to develop players ourselves and we have to show that ambition with our actions. It's easy to draw up a plan, but the key is to follow it through to the letter. We still have some way to go in that regard,” said the 42-year-old.

International break in the truest sense of the word

The international break will look a little different for the Mainz players this week. The battle with the U23s will not be followed by the usual friendly, but by a few days off following Wednesday’s session. Svensson explained his thinking to the press: “I haven't always liked what I've seen in the friendlies,” said the boss with a laugh. “We’re also in November now, and it's a different point of the season as far as the physical and mental load is concerned.” The time off ought to help the players to refill the tanks. “A bit of time and a bit of distance can rekindle the fire,” said the Dane. That means that the players will have individually-tailored programmes to follow from Thursday but they will have the freedom to do so from home. Preparations for the clash with 1. FC Köln will begin next Tuesday. Up to 30,000 fans will be able to watch that match live in the stadium, and it's a fixture that Svensson is already looking forward to after his experience last weekend.

"Personally, I really liked how my team played on Friday - maybe not at all times during the 90 minutes but especially in the second half.” The head coach was just as thrilled with what he saw in the stands. “The fans recognised the performance as well. The atmosphere was amazing, right from the start. The way they supported Robin after we went one down, and how they celebrated with the team after the equaliser - amazing. And I have to say: when I arrived here I hoped that we would one day be able to have Mainz fans back in the stadium to see their team. Now I've felt that support, and it's right at the top of my list of experiences,” said the Mainz manager, who sees it as a milestone achievement to have a full crowd after a good ten months in charge. But the Dane isn’t satisfied and wants to keep rewarding the fans by working towards good results.

Burning desire for more “special evenings”

 “We want the fans to come to the stadium to see a team that represents their city, their region - no matter who the opposition are.” Svensson places great emphasis on his next words: “Then we will be able to experience more special evenings like Friday. Because it was a top atmosphere despite not being a win, and the impression I got of love and recognition from the fans was really noticeable.”

If the coach has his way, the players will continue to draw on these experiences to kick on to even greater levels, and to fight for every inch in their next meeting at the MEWA ARENA. “We want to deliver entertainment, and that's what Köln do too,” says Svensson as he looks ahead to the second of back-to-back home games (21st November at 17:30 CET.) “They are razor-sharp and brave as well. The Köln fans love going to the stadium to see their side play. It will be a match in which both teams want to achieve something, they won't just be looking to play spoilers. I can't see it being a boring game!” There's still a little time to rest ahead of that much-anticipated clash of the Rhine, as well as to enjoy the current league standings. Mainz are on the right track heading towards the end of 2021.