Schwarz: “Hardworking until the end”
The Zerofivers travel to Freiburg in a good mood but face a strong SC Freiburg team who are full of hard runners and overall a good team.
The home victory last Sunday against SV Werder Bremen was important and has had a positive effect on the morale in the Mainz 05 changing room. “It makes a difference on the atmosphere, whether you have won or not. We have recently been very frustrated, because the results haven’t gone our way. Now you can see on the faces of the players, that they are in a better mood,” said Sandro Schwarz during the press conference prior to the game against SC Freiburg (15:30 CET) on Saturday. The head coach expects a similar performance by his team in all aspects, compared to the home game, in order to get their first away victory of the season.
The clear aim of the Zerofiver’s head coach, is to go into the international break with another three points. The away games so far for Mainz this season have not gone their way. In the Pokal, in Leverkusen, Schalke or Nürnberg, “consistency is simply the theme.” Said Schwarz, who knows what his team will expect in Freiburg: An opponent, who recently took a point of FC Bayern, a team that has only lost one game in their last eight, a very strong team that play with extremely high commitment and passion everywhere on the pitch.
Leave no space
“You can’t leave any open space,” explained the 40-year-old 05ers head coach. “We have to push ourselves to the limit again, in terms of intensity. In addition to being physically strong, we need to be compact in defence and not passive. Similarly to the game against Bremen, we have to actively fight for the ball in their half. If our opponents do slip up, we need to take advantage and score.
In the last home game, Mainz players were involved in a total of 80 ball conquests. “The opponent must have had more of the ball and that’s why the numbers are like that,” said Schwarz jokingly. “You simply need the right movement, find the space, take your chances and be courageous. This is what we have to do and be prepared to do against a strong Freiburg team. We cannot go there and expect to have the ball and play. You need to be diligent until the end and if not, you have no chance against Freiburg.” With these words in the heads of the players, the team are feeling good and want to play good football on Saturday.
Respect for the Freiburg’s intensity
"We saw last season in the 1-2 defeat in Freiburg that we had a certain amount of dominance, but that means nothing in terms of the result. It will be important, but we have to stay alert, and make sure we don’t get carried away with being inefficient in possession. All these little things, made the difference against Bremen. We have great respect for Freiburg’s intensity as they just run, run and run, "warned Schwarz.
Ridle Baku and goalkeeper Florian Müller are injured and along with René Adler and Emil Berggreen will remain in Mainz. The 05ers coach can still fall back on a comprehensive squad that has lots to offer. "Sure, there will be some difficulties. It's never a pleasant decision to name the squad and the line-up when there is so much competition," said Schwarz. To deal properly with this situation and to do everything to change it is the motto. The coach used Giulio Donati as an example, who so far has not played. "The quality and mentality that Giulio brings in training, we need that to be constant, to influence things, to then give him the opportunity to be on the pitch. It's the job of a professional to get the most out of himself, improve his quality. This is a competitive sport, and then comes the day, when you have to be ready.”