Pros 25.11.2021 — 15:18 Uhr

Svensson ahead of Stuttgart clash: “There is no other team that plays like them”

Zerofivers’ head coach expects a challenge in his side’s game this Friday night away to VfB Stuttgart and hopes the team have learned from the draw against Köln

Head coach Svensson had a lot to discuss about his side’s most recent game against 1. FC Köln.

1. FSV Mainz 05 travel away on Friday night for the first time in three games, with Bo Svensson’s side heading to face 16th-placed VfB Stuttgart. Our Danish head coach expects a challenge from the upcoming opponents: “Looking at their last game against Dortmund, you can see what kind of quality they will come at us with tomorrow. Stuttgart are a special team – there is no other team in the Bundesliga who plays quite like them,” said the Mainz head coach in his press conference ahead of the game, in which the Zerofivers will have to do without both Anderson Lucoqui and Jeremiah St. Juste.

The MEWA ARENA has hosted Mainz’s last two games, both 1-1 draws against Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln. “A lot went well in the first game, but some things didn’t go well in the second. When you compare the two games, you see the same result, yes, but there are so many differences in what happened during the matches,” explained Svensson, going on to give details about what those differences were. The most significant thing the 42-year-old was unsatisfied with against the cathedral city club was the lack of aggression and intensity: “I didn’t like the body language and attitude of the team at all. We stood off them too much when we didn’t have the ball, and played too slowly when we did have it. Our pressing and the rest of our defence were also not very good.” A more aggressive and intense style of play are still “key things to use in order to keep up with the rest of the Bundesliga. If we want to make our game plan work best, these are the most important pieces of the puzzle.”

When you compare our last two games, you see the same result, yes, but there are so many differences in what happened during the matches

Svensson hopes the side learn

Despite the way his side played, Svensson went on to add that it was important to remember that “Köln are a good team, who put in a good performance.” Ahead of the game against VfB, Svensson hoped that his team had learned from their mistakes last time out: “You do learn from a good performance, but you learn more from games like the one against Köln. Even if we’ve had a shorter week, we hope to have taken the right key points from the game and will try to do better tomorrow,” explained the Dane, who foresees a tough challenge for his team. “It won’t be easy. There are of course a lot of reasons why Stuttgart are where they are – they have a lot of problems due to Corona and injuries and lots of their key players have been missing.”

As examples, Svensson named Sascha Kalajdžić and Silas Katompa Mvumpa, who scored the goals in Stuttgart’s 2-0 win the last time the teams met, and who are just two on the injury list for the home side. FSV’s head coach remained wary of the opposition’s strengths: “Looking at their last game against Dortmund, you can see what kind of quality they will come at us with tomorrow. Stuttgart are a special team – there is no other team in the Bundesliga who plays quite like them, and that will make the task more difficult for us tomorrow.”

Last time the Zerofivers travelled to Stuttgart, they were on the end of a 2-0 defeat.

Kohr and Bell miss out

Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart side use a different structure when they are on the ball, can use space in lots of ways and are tactically flexible, says Svensson: “That can cause any opponent problems.” For his team, it will be a main priority to be wide awake, fully focused, and be able to go up against the opposition tactically in order to get into the game. “That will be no easy feat against an opponent who can work in so many different ways and have such high-quality players in their ranks. It’s generally a very good team with a way of playing that makes life difficult for opponents.”

The Zerofivers’ situation is made no easier through the absence of several key players: Anderson Lucoqui and Jeremiah St. Juste were both injured, but joining them are Dominik Kohr, who was hurt in the game against Köln, and Stefan Bell, who is suspended. “We need to replace these guys – it’s no secret that they’ve played an important role in their time here. Nevertheless I am excited, not because they are out, but because it gives others a well-earned chance to come in,” said Svensson. He made his aims for Friday night clear: “We know Stuttgart’s strengths and that it’s an important game for them. Nevertheless we’re going there in search of a win.”