Schröder: We want to maintain our momentum
Mainz are looking to prove themselves against RB Leipzig with a strong performance and positive result
After a disappointing first round exit, the Zerofivers had to take the role of spectators for this week’s DFB-Pokal action. RB Leipzig’s 6-1 win over Wolfsburg showed just how big of a challenge awaits 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday. “We already knew how much quality they have in their squad before this match,” said Sandro Schwarz in his press conference on Thursday. “It just proves again how dangerous they can be going forward.”
The big cup win will be something of a relief for Julian Nagelsmann’s side because their Bundesliga form has not been particularly impressive lately. Most recently, they suffered a defeat at SC Freiburg and have not won any of their last four league games. “You can’t even entertain the idea that they might be in a crisis,” emphasised Rouven Schröder. “It’s going to be an exciting opportunity for us. We always ask ourselves: how can we prove ourselves against this opposition?”.
The only team without a draw
The sporting director, along with everyone else at the club, is hoping that the team can take the momentum from the 3-1 win against 1. FC Köln into Saturday’s match. “The week after a win like that is always so much easier for everyone. It showed us that you can make your own luck in a game. It was nice to see us coping well under pressure and staying calm.”
Mainz now have nine points. “We’re the only team that is yet to draw a match,” was Schröder’s explanation for why the points total feels a bit different than the same number at this stage last season when the team had won one less game but drawn three more. “We are always positive and we always want to get more points,” explained Schröder. “We want all three. We want to show that we have what it takes to do that at Leipzig.” Mainz’s coaches have been preparing the team intensively for the Leipzig match over the past few days. “When you give them space and when you aren’t compact in defence then they punish you with their speed, quality and desire for goals,” said head coach Sandro Schwarz. “An open game won’t suit us on Saturday.”
“We need urgency”
Schwarz, however, doesn’t want to run into it with such a defensive strategy. "It's not just a matter of turning on defensive mode, just sitting back and hoping that we can intercept their passes, or defending in numbers constantly. We also need to have urgency without the ball and produce a bit of quality by playing it in to the channels and making runs from deep. We want to put our opponents under pressure."
Defence is certainly something you’re going to need if you’re going to get anything from the team that’s sixth in the table. "We can’t afford to be disorganised defensively, we know how hard it is to stop them, and we want to fight it with all the resources we have to play to our strengths and get the result," said the 05 coach, who has already decided that Alexander Hack will replace the suspended Moussa Niakhaté at centre back: “Hacki has proven time and time again in the past that he can deal with such situations." In Leipzig, the 26-year-old now wants to prove his worth yet again and take his chance.