Schwarz wants a mix of determination, tempo and patience
The Mainz head coach wants three points from the first game at the Opel Arena of 2019
Last summer, Mainz 05 began the season well with a home victory against VfB Stuttgart and then a 1-1 draw away at FC Nürnberg. The Zerofivers have started the second half of the season in similar fashion, with an away win in Stuttgart and now face FC Nürnberg at the Opel Arena which will be the first home game of the season. The three points is the clear aim for the game that kicks off at 15:30 CET on Saturday. “The fans will see a team on the pitch that will give everything for the three points,” said Sandro Schwarz in the press conference two days before the game.
It is just by chance that Mainz begin their two games after the winter break against two sides that are fighting relegation. Having been victorious in Stuttgart, the home side will be the favourites for this game, especially as Nürnberg are winless in 12 games. Still, the head coach has already made it very clear that being favourites means nothing and that also Nürnberg will be looking very hard for their first win in a while.
FC Nürnberg: Problems finishing
“Regardless of the opponent, our aim is always to play home games where the fans go home with the feeling that we have given everything on the pitch and that will be the case again this Saturday," said Schwarz. As usual, he has thoroughly analysed the upcoming opponents with his coaching staff. "We talk about everything," said the 40-year-old. The opponents have good structure in possession and do a lot of things throughout the pitch. "There one problem is finishing and scoring goals," said Schwarz.
“We will try and find the right solutions on the pitch. We will try and find where we can hurt them, squeeze them in their own half and work hard off the ball. We will need to stay focused and alert, show patience, not run blind and to win the ball back and counter quickly,” explained Schwarz.
Latza is fit again
Schwarz wants his team to bring all the elements that they have been working on, onto the pitch. He also wants the team to avoid a lapse in concentration at the end of the game, which happened in the game against Stuttgart as Mainz conceded two late goals. “Our aim is to fight hard and win the first home game of 2019” stated the coach, who has all his players available again but has some hard decisions to make.
Danny Latza is fit again and is available to play. In defence, the coach must decide whether he will play Alexander Hack, who put in a strong performance and scored a goal, or play the fit-again Moussa Niakhaté alongside Stefan Bell in a back four. “In every situation, it is a tough decision. Nevertheless, it is a good dilemma when you have good players competing for the same spots.”