Schröder: Time to lick our wounds and look ahead
Two late goals mark an unsuccessful start to the season for the Zerofivers – Sporting director: “We were punished for our mistakes”
The Bundesliga season has started off on the wrong foot for 1. FSV Mainz 05. After a 3-0 loss to Freiburg, the Zerofivers picked up a 3-1 loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach in their debut match at home in front of 28,000 fans in the OPEL ARENA. Once again, it was a relatively even match that should have led to a win. “We felt like we had things under control,” said Rouven Schröder. “Right now, it seems to be the case that when we do make mistakes, we’re immediately punished for them. That’s exactly what happened today.”
Just like the sporting director, Stefan Hofmann was also at a loss for words as he returned to the dressing room. “Have we done something wrong?” the club chairman asked during the post-match press conference. “This match should not have ended 3-1.” In last week’s match against Freiburg, or the DFB-Pokal tie against Kaiserslautern, there were few indications that it would end in defeat for the Mainz. It was a similar story once again against a highly-motivated and top-quality team from Gladbach, except for the closing moments of the match.
Schwarz: “That’s fatal”
“Gladbach had their first real chances in the second half, and we immediately went down. That’s fatal,” said Sandro Schwarz. “To then concede a second goal within a matter of minutes that knocks us out of the match is something that we cannot allow. We need to get to a point where we are able to deliver a strong performance over the full 90 minutes, and that the deciding moments happen in our favour, and not our opponents,” said the Mainz head coach. “I think it will definitely be painful to re-watch the match. There were too many moments where we should have played better. It will hurt to see what could have been ours, just like against Freiburg.”
Schwarz is referring to several key chances that his side were unable to utilise, such as one that came shortly before the break as Karim Onisiwo failed to put it past Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer on the one-on-one.
Or like in the 35th minute when Daniel Brosinski played a cross in front of goal, instead of passing it to Robin Quaison, who failed to connect with the cross. There was also a counter-attack in the 68th minute, where Karim Onisiwo didn’t play the ball to Jean-Paul Boëtius or Taiwo Awoniyi, both of whom were wide open. Those are just two examples of many from the match. “We won the ball back often, but should have been more effective on the counter-attack. That was our biggest weakness,” said Schwarz. He added that the team needs to become more dangerous in front of goal. “Otherwise you’ll continue to lose unnecessarily. It hurts when the result doesn’t represent how you played, but instead comes down to individual lapses and mistakes.”
Rose: Mainz don’t need your pity
That was the case as Stefan Lainer scored the equaliser during the first half. Prior to that, Quaison had scored his first of the season off a header following a well-timed freekick from Brosinski. Lainer then took advantage of a disorganised Mainz defense off a similar freekick at the other end. “We weren’t paying attention there,” said Schwarz. Alassane Plea’s freekick to make it 2-1 saw the Mainz wall dissolve as everyone ran towards the ball. To top it off, the ball then slipped through Florian Müller’s hands. “That’s the brutal part of being a goalkeeper: you make several good saves and then one ends up slipping through your hands,” Schröder said about Müller, who had to watch as Breel Embolo scored two minutes later to make it 3-1. “You cannot allow a one-two punch like that,” said the head coach. Schröder is looking for the team to react better in such situations, listing committing a tactical foul as a last resort. “That was it for us at that point. It’s a hard to swallow result for us,” said the sporting director. “We will lick our wounds and continue to look ahead positively.”
It was a perfect return to his former club for Marco Rose. The former Mainz player and current Gladbach head coach thanked the fans for the enthusiastic welcome, and was pleased to have “won the match.” He added that neither Mainz 05 nor his friend Sandro Schwarz is in need of anyone’s pity. “The momentum was simply on our side today,” said Rose.