Pros 01.08.2022 — 13:30 Uhr

Strength and options at the top of the pitch

Not a lot of room for criticism after Mainz’s commanding display in Aue

Bo Svensson on the sidelines against Aue.

Although the head coach would have wanted his side to have been more clinical and put the game to bed earlier, it was a satisfying afternoon in Aue in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Mainz progressed into the the second round with relative ease, despite the fact that it can often be a tricky task in the early stages of the competition. Bo Svensson’s team won 3-0, with Dominik Kohr, Delano Burgzorg and Marcs Ingvartsen getting on the scoresheet. Mainz flexed their muscles in front of the 8,446 fans (around 500 of which were Zerofivers) and professionally dispatched Aue, who were relegated to the 3. Bundesliga last season.

“I think it was a fully-deserved win. We asserted our authority on the contest from the very start. Unfortunately we didn’t take the lead early on but getting the first goal was the key. We took full control when we went 2-0 up after the break. We showed how much quality we have at the top of the pitch and we created lots of chances but we need to be more clinical. Throughout the contest you got the feeling that getting into the next round was the most important thing and I think that we are ready to make a good start to the league season,” said Martin Schmidt after the game.

Bo Svensson made a similar assessment in his press conference after the game: “We are happy that we are into the next round. We created lots of chances right from the get go. I believe that we could have scored more goals in the early stages to put it to bed sooner. Overall, the second half was a bit better in terms of control,” said the 42-year-old. As ever, not all parts of the Mainz performance were above criticism: “I wasn’t happy with how we counter attacked in the first half,” said the coach.

The Jae-sung of old returns

Perhaps Svensson would not have been so concerned about counter-attacking threat had his side converted their early chances, and not had to waited until the 41st minute to take the lead. While Aue were committed and battled well against their highly backed opponents, they rarely created any serious threat of their own. At the other end, Karim Onisiwo, Jonathan Burkardt and Silvan Widmer were indeed somewhat careless with their chances, before Kohr, having been played in by Onisiwo, was free to finish and put Mainz 1-0 up. In the increasingly one-sided second half, the third division side did enjoy a good opening spell, but were not really able to come close to an equalizer. Burgzorg came on as a substitute and confidently made it 2-0 after a good ball from Onisiwo. It was Marcus Invgartsen, who was Svensson’s second change, who put matters beyond doubt – converting from the spot after Aue’s Stefan Nkansah committed a handball in the area.

Mainz’s coaches were particularly pleased with Jae-sung Lee’s return to action, as he played in an unfamiliar role. Svensson tasked the Korean with playing as a number six alongside Kohr. “I’ve always maintained that Jae-sung is an important player for us,” the head coach said. “It’s been a long wait for him, having had two knee injuries. Today, he played well, and already in the last 10 days we’ve seen not only improvements in his game, but also that the Jae-sung of old is returning”. Svensson added: “The idea was to have a player who offered more creativity at the six, which he did well, despite it being new for him.  He has certainly confirmed that he can be an option for upcoming fixtures.” This is a continuation of what was being shown in pre-season. Mainz 05 have clearly strengthened their attacking options since the end of the last campaign.

Mainz were rewarded with a 3-0 win for their dominant display

Attacking options decide the game

"I think it’s really clear that we have a lot of options when you look at who we can bring off the bench”, Svensson explained. “We brought on Ingvartsen, Angelo Fulgini and Burgzorg and also had another attacking option in the shape of Aymen Barkok. There is also Marlon Mustapha. It’s now exactly how we want it. We are able to change the game through our substitutions. And Angelo, Delano and Marcus did exactly that. They brought both their energy and their quality and decided the game.”

With time running out, the Mainz head coach turned to these options to replace Burkardt and Onisiwo. “The strikers that came off the bench continued exactly as the others left off and took their chances. Burgzorg was almost impossible to defend with his runs onto through balls and created lots of chances. Ingvartsen and Fulgini also took up good positions. We definitely became much more varied in attack and worked the ball wider” said Sporting Director Schmidt after the game.

We are able to change the game through our substitutions

Of course we could have had the game in the bag much earlier with the number of chances we had. In the league we won’t get so many opportunities so we’ll have to score earlier,” explained Silvan Widmer. “Defensively, barring a few exceptions, we were very confident and clearly the better team overall. Because of that we can travel home pleased, with our focus obviously turning straight to the game in Bochum”, the new Mainz captained emphasised.

Bundesliga campaign kicks off in Bochum

The Zerofivers’ league campaign gets underway on Saturday 6th August, with a trip to VfL Bochum (15:30 CEST).