Pros 11.02.2019 — 15:03 Uhr

“The coach picked him for a reason”

Leandro Barreiro is the third player this season to have been given his Bundesliga debut; following in the footsteps of Burkardt and Gürleyen. The Zerofivers captain was very self-critical of the 5-1 defeat.

Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Burkardt and Ahmet Gürleyen, who made their Bundesliga debuts this season; Leandro Barreiro has also made the step forward as he made his debut in the 5-1 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Although the result was not ideal, the midfielder certainly made a good impression. “It wasn’t a problem for him,” said Rouven Schröder after the game. “The lad was right in the game. He handled it well.”

Both of his younger colleagues made their Bundesliga debuts in the 2-1 victory over FC Augsburg. Barreiro had been suffering from a heavy workload and wasn’t able to complete regular training sessions and therefore, had to wait for his debut. “For us, it was logical that he was in the team,” said Sandro Schwarz. “Leandro has been training well with us for a couple months now. He’s very good at getting the ball back and has superb passing quality. He has showed it all in training.” The Zerofivers coach is excited for his youngster as he sees huge potential in the midfielder.

Hardworking, active, dangerous

The man born in Luxembourg with Portuguese roots, he has already made five appearances for Luxembourg, but so far this season has mainly been played with the Mainz U19s due to still going to school. He has scored three times and assisted four goals. “It’s simply amazing that someone born in the 2000s has played in the Bundesliga. The coach picked him for a reason. You can see in training, why Leandro got picked. It’s a very positive note,” explained the sporting director.

It is of course very difficult to any young player making his debut and being 4-1 down at half-time. The coach knew this and said: “Nevertheless he was very hardworking, active, dangerous and took responsibility. He handed his debut well.” Schwarz wanted a strong midfielder to partner Kunde Malong as Jean-Philippe Gbamin had been suffering from a stomach bug during the week, had not trained and was not able to start. Barreiro eased into the game, ran 12.29 kilometres, used his pace, aggressive tackling and switched the ball well.

Below expectations

“I don’t think we played that badly in the first half, said Daniel Brosinski after the defeat. “We just made too many individual mistakes, lost the ball too easily, and Leverkusen were very clinical.” The team will learn a lot from this game. The right-back insists the team will make things right. “Especially against a team so good on the counterattack, you can’t make mistakes with possession. It’s a warning to us. I hope we can be better next week,” said Brosinski.

 On the orders of Schwarz, the Zerofivers played with a back three but even though they conceded five, Captain Stefan Bell does not want to change the formation. “It wasn’t the system that was wrong. It worked well and we were able to attack well, fight for the ball. There was enough protection at the front but the problem was the individual mistakes from us at the back. You can’t make mistakes when in that position,” said Bell. “You can’t make mistakes against a team who are so good on the counter.