Pros 29.08.2019 — 21:31 Uhr

Schwarz: It doesn’t have to be good. It has to be perfect.

Appearances for Szalai and St. Juste not out of the question and three requirements for success in Munich.

The match schedule has spoken: Mainz have been matched up with record champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Saturday afternoon (15:30 CEST) as early as the third Matchday. Two days before the game, Sandro Schwarz told members of the media at a press conference that he believes it will be “the hardest game of the season.” The focus, according to the Mainz head coach, will be “first and foremost on our performance, that’s what we will judge ourselves on.”

Mainz have registered the third-most shots on target in the Bundesliga in their first two games against SC Freiburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Unsurprisingly, no one at Bruchweg is satisfied with the poor return of a single goal. Of course, In Munich, where there will likely be fewer chances for Mainz, the players must be more clinical in front of goal.  “We have to be brave and calm in front of goal on the day”, Schwarz states before the game against the champions. Fundamentally, the coach emphasized that “every player must play outstandingly in their position” against sixth-placed Bayern and that the team must work together smoothly. “We have to put in our best performance. What we can do well, we need to do perfectly in this game.” In essence, the plan for the game on the weekend could be condensed into three requirements: “Firstly we must defend very well, secondly we need to be efficient in front of goal and thirdly we need a little slice of luck in Munich for a perfect result”.      

Defend as a unit, press the man playing the pass

While the 6-0 defeat in Munich last March no longer plays a role in the preparation for the match, as Schwarz reported, it is still obviously helpful: “We know that Mainz have played there in the past and have also had successful results against Bayern Munich”. Other tactical factors to consider in the build-up to Saturday’s clash are analyses of Bayern’s first two Bundesliga matches this season, gleaned from studying the 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin and the 3-0 win against Schalke 04. “We know what to expect and whether Coutinho plays or not it will be a top team,” said the Mainz head coach, adding that Robert Lewandowksi cannot be man-marked.  “We must defend as a unit, and that starts with putting pressure on the man in possession.” In addition to Lewandowski there are also many other players who possess similar quality in front of goal. 

Schwarz does not want to rule out an appearance for Ádám Szalai just two days after his return to the club. Szalai, in his first spell with Mainz, netted the winner in a 2-1victory over Bayern at the Allianz back in 2010. “He is the type of striker we need and we hope to use his qualities on the pitch to steer us in the right direction.” There will also be a decision in the next few days on a possible start for Jeremiah St. Juste The centre-back completed part of team training on Wednesday after suffering a shoulder injury in Freiburg. “With him, we are waiting for the final checks,” said Schwarz, who still has to make do without the injured Stefan Bell, Dong won-Ji, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Phillipp Mwene.