Schwarz: “Just focus on football”
Schwarz isn’t worried about having to make changes again, and the table is an “absolute positive” according to Schröder.
Going into the 23rd matchday of the season, the table this year has little in common with that of last year at the same point, with Mainz seven points further ahead this time around. However there are some similarities, with Robin Quaison scoring a brace against Hertha on matchday 23 last year and Karim Onisiwo against Schalke this year.
Rouven Schröder called the table an “absolute advantage” in today’s press conference: “We’re looking towards the future every day. Through this, we can hold concrete talks looking to the upcoming season. However it’s clear that this season isn’t over yet and we have to stay awake. Successful games like the one against Schalke are the best adverts for our club and reflect the way that football is played in Mainz.”
Go to Berlin with confidence
Around 26,000 fans watched Mainz’s 3-0 win over Schalke 04 in the OPEL ARENA last weekend. Onisiwo got a brace in the game, with Mateta also scoring after coming off the bench, and the players can take confidence from the game into the match in Berlin.
Mainz celebrated their first away league victory of last season against Hertha, with Robin Quaison scoring both goals in a 2-0 win. It was an important win in the fight to avoid the drop, putting the club onto 23 points after 23 games and into 16th place. A year later, Mainz have 30 points from 23 games and are 14 points clear of the relegation zone. “The situation allows us to just focus on football and what we could be doing better. We’re now in Karneval season which is very special for our city. On Saturday, we’ll try to contribute to this positive feeling,” said Sandro Schwarz.
Hertha “put the pressure on early”
Schwarz also spoke of Hertha’s quality and how Mainz are having to deal with several injures. However, their main focus is on their own performance in the game. Adler, Mwene, Berggreen, and Holtmann with definitely miss the game, as will Boëtius due to suspension. Brosinski, Mateta and Latza could also miss out. This won’t be a problem according to Schwarz: “We have a lot of options, and we’re performing at a good level. It’s good to have a certain momentum in the squad in times like this. That keeps everyone awake. We need all our players.” The head coach also spoke about the upcoming opponents: “We’ll be coming up against a team that defend aggressively and to a man and can change from their base formation. They have a lot of quality and speed going forward and they’re structured in possession.” Mainz will have to fight back against an opponent that “put you under pressure early.”
Mainz will want to put in another impressive performance for their 700 fans who are believed to be travelling to the game, taking inspiration from their 2-0 win in Berlin last season.