Pros 25.05.2023 — 15:56 Uhr

Svensson: “Getting the most out of the last game”

The Mainz head coach is looking forward to the task against BVB and puts the focus on his own performance. Stefan Bell, meanwhile, is awaiting a milestone in Dortmund.

A scene from the reverse fixture in January: Marcus Ingvartsen in a challenge with Emre Can.

On the final matchday of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season, 1. FSV Mainz will travel to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday at 15:30 (CEST). Around 8,000 Mainz fans will accompany FSV to Dortmund.

There will be lots of attention throughout Germany on the Zerofivers’ meeting with the league leaders, who will be crowned champions with a win. This is an attention that FSV enjoy but prefer to focus on themselves: “It is of course a special game, but we will do our part and focus, as always, on what we can influence,” said head coach Bo Svensson.

Looking for a way out of the negative run

According to Svensson, how his team has coped with the four recent defeats against VfL Wolfsburg, Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart will be seen at the weekend. “When you lose four in a row, it isn’t the nicest feeling, but it can happen and you have to find a way to deal with it,” he said. During the training week, the team has been working with intensity in all areas to keep improving further and prepare specifically for the upcoming opponent. They want to concentrate all of their energy on “getting the most out of the last game” and ending the season on a positive note. Since the Stuttgart game, the team has been dealing with this both in terms of training and also emotionally.

Nothing else matters for us and isn’t our business.

The situation at the top of the table, where FC Bayern is depending on Mainz picking up points against Dortmund to still have a chance at winning the league, on the other hand, is irrelevant for the Zerofivers. Svensson has had no contact with Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel, who once coached him at Bruchweg. It is not about helping Bayern, but about helping himself. “Nothing else matters for us and isn’t our business,” explained the Dane. Even if other matters dominate the media, it is all about representing Mainz 05 in the best possible way to end the season successfully.

With an appearance against BVB, Bell would become a record holder for Mainz in the Bundesliga, while Ajorque is missing through suspension.

A “special game” for Bell

Meanwhile, he said that Stefan Bell’s milestone of overtaking Nikolce Noveski for the most appearances for Mainz with his 266th Bundesliga appearance for the Zerofivers, after drawing level the previous week, is very much relevant. "It definitely shouldn’t just pass by,” he said, expressing his special appreciation for the home-grown player. The veteran has been one of the “absolute key players” in the past two and a half years while he has been head coach and played a major role in their survival in 2021 and subsequent progression. This, in addition to the “remarkable numbers” that the centre-back has achieved, is one reason for his place in the history of Mainz 05.

It definitely shouldn’t just pass by.

On Saturday afternoon, Bell will be challenged again by one of the best attacking teams in the second half of the season and get plenty of opportunities to shine. Svensson expects a special atmosphere in Dortmund, and from a BVB perspective also a lot of pressure and great anticipation for the game. FSV will have to approach the game in the same way, demanded the Zerofivers’ coach. “You don't often get the chance to play in a game like this one. We want to enjoy it.”

Zentner returns, Ajorque out suspended

In terms of the squad, the Zerofivers can be happy about the return of Robin Zentner, who is available again for the last match after his absence last Sunday against Stuttgart. In addition to the injured Jonathan Burkardt, Silvan Widmer and Alexander Hack will be missing, while Ludovic Ajorque is serving a suspension for yellow cards accumulated.