Schwarz: We’re not just there to applaud them
As the Bundesliga reaches its conclusion, 1. FSV Mainz are preparing for their final two games. The first of which is Sunday’s (kickoff 18:00 CEST) Rhein-Main Derby in the Commerzbank Arena against Eintracht Frankfurt. “It will be a great game and a special atmosphere,” said head coach Sandro Schwarz in Friday’s press conference ahead of the game. “For us there is a great anticipation to go out there and make our own statement.”
The next instalment of the derby will take place under special conditions – it is the only game of Matchsday 33 to take place on Sunday, with every other fixture taking place at the same time on Saturday, as per tradition for the final two rounds of fixtures in the Bundesliga season. “It was the correct decision to postpone the game, in order to give Frankfurt time to regenerate. Simply put, you need this recovery period,” explained Schwarz.
Ready for intensity
Nobody will know to what extent Frankfurt will be able to physically and mentally recover from their dramatic defeat in the Europa League semi-final on Thursday– a game in which Eintracht were defeated by Chelsea on penalties despite a top performance. Schwarz is expecting a stable side who will want to show a reaction at their own ground in front of a home crowd, “as it was a very tough and disappointing way of exiting the competition. They now have their last home game of the season and the big aim of Champions League places ahead of them. We have to be ready for a very intense game,” said the 40-year-old. It shouldn’t be a problem for Schwarz’s men, who have been preparing for exactly that.
In the past two years, Mainz 05 have suffered two defeats at the Commerzbank Arena, which Schwarz will not want to remember. “We know how we felt during these two games. Nowadays, we have a completely different motivation, different playing style and a different mentality. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but we feel ready to give everything in terms of performance and mentality. We didn’t tell the guys that we have to go there and get revenge but instead want them to improve on our performances in the last couple weeks. They will be a very strong opponent. It will be an interesting game and we are looking forward to it.”
Onisiwo inclusion undecided
Mainz’s remaining fixtures will see them facing two sides aiming for European qualification as they host Hoffenheim after travelling to Frankfurt and can influence the race for Europe. “We are aware of it, but it is not a big issue,” said Schwarz. “We acknowledge their performances this season and what they have done internationally, because it is outstanding. We’re not planning on gifting them anything and we’re not just there to applaud them. For us, it’s not about wanting to put a dent in their European hopes. It is an important game because we want to do ourselves justice. That is the indicator. Against Frankfurt and Hoffenheim we want to prove against two top teams that we are continuing to develop. That is our motivation and we want to finish the season on a high.
It is still unknown whether Onisiwo will be able to play against Frankfurt on Sunday after suffering a concussion during the game against RB Leipzig. The coach explained that it was difficult to make a decision on him. The player will be monitored before the game.