SVENSSON: "IT'S ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY FOR US NOW"
Mainz's performances should always be as intense as they are passionate, and at the same time be characterised by an unmistakable recognition value. Mentally and physically, the task is a great challenge, as the head coach knows. "Nevertheless, that is what makes us and is a decisive part of our philosophy. We want to stay true to ourselves," says Svensson before the duel with Hoffenheim.
During the course of Thursday, the last internationals, Ádám Szalai (scored in Hungary's 2-1 win over Andorra on Wednesday) and Silvan Widmer (0-0 with Switzerland in Northern Ireland), returned to the Bruchweg. While the two players will initially be recovering, the rest of the squad will be taking to the training pitch this afternoon for the crucial phase of preparation for the match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon (3.30pm, live on SKY & 05ER.fm). For the first time, visitors' supporters will be allowed to attend the game - which also pleases the Mainz coach, as does the new variability in the attack.
At the press conference two days before the clash in Kraichgau, Bo Svensson said that he had often had to comment on how football felt in front of empty stands. At one point, he had compared the situation to a spice-free soup. "It fills you up, but it doesn't taste good," the Dane told 05ER.tv before the start of the season. A theory that he sees confirmed after three days of play, as he summed up on Thursday afternoon:
The games are more fun when there are people in the stadium
"Everyone who was at our first three games has experienced how the fans influence a game. It runs differently because of the atmosphere that can come up. It means that football matches are no longer influenced only by tactics or the skills of individual players. Because there is more to it, that emotional track of feeling stronger or weaker because of the support from the stands. The games are more fun when there are people in the stadium," the 42-year-old emphasised the importance of support.
More fans, more responsibility
However, he is happy to accept that as a coach he now has less influence on the course of the game and appeals to the personal responsibility of his players. "Last season I was able to give hints to the full-backs away from the ball, but that's impossible now. It is therefore all the more important to prepare the players very well and give them personal responsibility. The group has to sort things out on the pitch, that's even more important if it - hopefully - continues like this with the fans in the stadium."
We want to stay true to ourselves
Especially since the momentum from outside also benefits the Zerofivers preferred style of play. After all, Mainz games should always be intense, emotional and passionate. "Our game thrives on intensity," Svensson emphasised once again. "It's not so easy to call up this approach week after week, but it's all about consistency for us now. It demands a lot, physically and also mentally, to keep pushing beyond your limits. Nevertheless, that's what makes us and is a crucial part of our philosophy. We want to stay true to ourselves," says the head coach.
That, of course, also applies to the challenge at TSG this weekend, where the Zerofivers last managed to snatch three points twice in a row - 5-1 in December 2019 and 2-1 in March 2021. Which, of course, no longer matters to Svensson as he prepares for the upcoming clash. "The coach is the same, many players are still there. But we are focusing on Hoffenheim's last games this season. They play a tad more aggressively, are on the move a lot and have playing class. I also think that the speed in their game has increased again, which doesn't make the task any easier," warns the ex-professional.
New competitive situation
It is all the more important to build on the performances from the two successful home games against Leipzig and Fürth and to cause the Hoffenheimers similar problems as they did almost half a year ago. Svensson, who will only have to do without Aarón Martín (groin problems), is particularly pleased with the new competitive situation in attack after Marcus Ingvartsen joined Mainz on the last day of the transfer period and took part in team training for the first time on Wednesday - following his international trip with the Danish national team. The competitive situation up front is now exactly what he had in mind, according to the head coach.
...he is a clever boy and a good footballer
"We have different types of players and can set ourselves up flexibly depending on the opponent," said the 05 coach, looking forward to the weekend. After all, Szalai, the new U21 captain of the DFB Jonny Burkardt, Ingvartsen as well as Karim Onisiwo are conceivable starting options. Ingvartsen could become Svensson's trump card for another reason, as he was still in the starting eleven for Union Berlin on Matchday 2 in Kraichgau: "Of course" he would exchange ideas with his compatriot about the opponent. And possibly help him make his debut in the 05 jersey: "He still has to get used to the procedures, but he's a clever boy and a good footballer, he won't need a long time to adapt."