Pros 14.04.2022 — 16:21 Uhr

Svensson: "Our motivation has to come from ourselves"

Ahead of Saturday’s home game against a relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart side, head coach Bo Svensson is hoping to see his side play in front of a sold-out crowd. “It’s another chance for us to show everyone, as well as ourselves, what we want to stand for here at Mainz.”

After three away games in the last six days, 1. FSV Mainz 05 can finally look forward to a home game and reaching an internal goal, as they host VfB Stuttgart on Saturday afternoon (15:30 CEST). “Securing mathematical safety would be a small step. Being guaranteed safety with four games left would be something special for Mainz 05,” said Svensson during the pre-match press conference on Thursday. The head coach is expecting his side to play their game once again, this time in front of a hopefully sold-out crowd at the MEWA ARENA.

Instead of being focused on their points tally, Svensson is hoping to see his side deliver a strong performance. “We have reached a good point to prove what I’d said when I first arrived at the club. Regardless of how things go, be it positive or negative, what matters to us is being able to play our game the way that we want to,” said the 42-year-old, who is looking to being at home again after a frustrating week, in which the Zerofivers picked up just one point.

A privilege to play in the Bundesliga

“It wasn't an easy week but now we finally have a home game on Saturday, hopefully in front of a sold-out crowd. Playing at home is always a privilege, and one that should be enjoyed,” he said. “It’s another chance for us to show everyone, as well as ourselves, what we want to stand for here at Mainz. That’s on the agenda this weekend, same as it is every week. It’s only the standings ahead of the game that have changed, and we’re no longer under any pressure based on the table, unlike how it’s been in previous years. However, we still want to achieve the maximum possible. That’s why our motivation has to come from ourselves. Like I said 17 months ago, we want to play Mainz 05 football, especially at home.”

“We still want to achieve the maximum possible. That’s why our motivation has to come from ourselves.”

Unlike in previous seasons, the Zerofivers will be able to enjoy a relatively relaxed season run-in. Mainz are currently in tenth with 38 points, whereas upcoming opponents Stuttgart (15th, 27 points) are in a much more precarious situation. “We still have to play Stuttgart and Hertha, who need every point they can get. If we were to gift them these, then we wouldn’t be meeting our own expectations. Based on what I know about my team, I trust that they will give it everything in order to show both the fans and themselves the kind of quality we have,” said Svensson. “Of course you need some pressure, but we are playing a Bundesliga match in front of a full stadium, something we weren’t able to do a year ago. You have to have the right mindset, which then automatically turns into excitement and positivity. You have to really want it.”

Tauer and Nemeth both options to start

The Zerofivers will be without Jeremiah St. Juste, Alexander Hack and Jae-sung Lee this weekend. “Niklas Tauer and David Nemeth are the immediate options to replace Hacki,” said Svensson when asked about potential replacements for the defender.

“We know from our own experience how important such a game is to them.”

VfB suffered a 2-0 defeat against BVB last weekend, and are still mired in the relegation battle. They will be without a key player this weekend in captain Wataru Endo, but Svensson still had plenty of praise for the midfielder. “Endo is obviously a very important player for Stuttgart, he’s a leader and has a strong mentality. Despite a difficult season with plenty of injuries and some unfortunate games, they still have many good players,” the coach said. Stuttgart “have everything to play for,” he said, adding “We know from our own experience how important such a game is to them.”