Rouven Schröder: “The OPEL CUP was very informative”
Both the 05ers sporting director and head coach Sandro Schwarz take the positives out of the OPEL CUP: “That is what pre-season is there for.”
Despite starting the tournament in poor fashion against strong opposition, 1. FSV Mainz 05 sporting director Rouven Schröder took the positives out of the second edition of the OPEL CUP, which took place on Saturday afternoon. “It was a great tournament with two high quality invited opponents,” said the 05ers sporting director. Sandro Schwarz’s side suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat against Sevilla who went on to win the tournament after they defeated Everton 1-0 in the opening match of the afternoon. Mainz bounced back from their opening defeat to defeat the Merseyside club 3-1 and secure second place.
“I have to admit that Sevilla were by far the strongest team on the day,” said Schröder in his post tournament summary. “You saw their quality and how they have strengthened in multiple positions. They clearly have the aim of playing in the Champions League. They are clearly in a different class compared with us. Despite all of this, it was disappointing to lose our opening match so heavily. There were numerous things for us to discuss with the team and the head coach has also mentioned them.”
The first half performance was the main reason why Sandro Schwarz had to alter things during half-time against Sevilla. The Andalucían side were able to break through easily against a Mainz side that struggled to settle into the match.
“Of course that wasn’t how we want to perform,” said a critical Schwarz following the performance against Sevilla. “We know our opponents possessed exceptional quality and have strong players at every position in their starting lineup. We were lacking some intensity and some energy in that performance. The last piece of concentration and desire to work was also missing.” The 05ers head coach made an early alteration to try to reduce the deficit, changing to a flat, rigid 4-4-2 formation. “It wasn’t dependent on the formation, instead it was due to our lack of grip on the match. When you concede a goal or struggle to break down opposition, you have to continue to play your game. We didn’t do that on Saturday. Our opponents ruthlessly broke us apart and we couldn’t clear our lines at all, both on the flanks and from deep.”
Fernandes gives strong performance from defensive midfield
The 05ers side that lined up to face Everton, gave a much better impression and the Mainz crowd added their full vocal support. “That was a decent performance. We were much more active in the match and played much better,” said the coach. The 05ers enjoyed more possession in their second match of the afternoon as Robin Quaison scored a brace to help them to victory against the Merseyside club. The Swede also set up academy product Erkan Eyibil to score and complete the victory. “I’m pleased we scored three goals in the second match,” explained Schwarz, who was also full of praise for Robin Quaison. “Two goals scored and another goal set up for Erkan. We know how important Robin is for us, especially his deep runs and quality on the ball. It is an important for a striker to score against top international teams.”
The coach also praised the performance from new signing Edimilson Fernandes in defensive midfield, who actually arrived at the club from West Ham as an attacking midfielder. However, the Swiss was dominant in his slightly deeper role. “Edi provides us with more structure and he is super sharp in his role. We trusted him to play well in the number six role,” said the 05ers head coach. Fernandes impressed the most as he won possession from Everton to start the attack which led to Mainz’s third and final goal. The Swiss international also impressed with his passing accuracy. “He is a footballer with a fast perception of the game and he is composed in possession. He is a footballer who is hungry for more,” added Schwarz.
If the 05ers struggle to settle and compete against high quality sides, as was the case in the Sevuilla match, “something similar to the 5-0 defeat could happen again,” said Schröder. “That is what pre-season is there for, so that you can gain a true picture of what is going well and what isn’t going so well. That was overall a good lesson for us to learn from. It was important that we also showed a strong reaction against Everton after that disappointing scoreline.”