Pros 22.11.2021 — 19:30 Uhr

The lads already know the score

“The intensity and aggression were completely missing”, said Bo Svensson about large parts of the game against 1. FC Köln – the fact that the Zerofivers encounter problems when they don’t perform at their best is a well-known trait.

“We need to be critical of ourselves,” said Bo Svensson after the draw against 1. FC Köln. The head coach was extremely dissatisfied with his team’s performance for the overwhelming majority of the game. The whole first team were also critical and reflective on the game immediately after the final whistle, none more so than the opening goalscorer. Jonny Burkardt and his colleagues did not “reach our level”, he said after the game.

Mainz’s opener at the end of the first half came somewhat against the run of play, and despite starting the game well and creating chances (Karim Onisiwo and Jean-Paul Boëtius had efforts saved), it was Köln who had the upper hand, playing more attacking lively football and having a clear upper hand in terms of opportunities, Ondrej Duda, Anthony Modeste and Luca Kilian all having shots saved from good positions. “In the first half Köln were much better, because we didn’t perform to the level we normally do on the pitch. The intensity and aggression were completely missing,” said Svensson, analysing after the game. Our head coach has time and again noted that it will get uncomfortable for FSV in the Bundesliga if they don’t meet their standards. It’s a message that has been drilled into the players’ heads, but one that doesn’t solely prevent afternoons like the one on Sunday happening:

The best part about today is that we managed to get a point

“If our play is lacking in quality and we’re not giving it 100 or 105%, then we’re going to find it tough. The best part about today is that we managed to get a point, particularly because Köln showed how strong they are as a team. It didn’t quite work out for us on many occasions for a number of reasons. We were also a bit soft when it came to making challenges, and we made it too easy for Köln by giving possession away too many times. It was very difficult,” added centre-back Stefan Bell, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season and so will miss Friday’s away fixture against Stuttgart (20:30 CET) due to suspension.

Go into the break with some momentum

Although not much went right for Mainz in their seventh home match of the season (W3, D3, L1), and Salih Özcan’s 47th-minute headed equaliser got Köln back into the game, we went on to create some decent chances and improved in the second 45 minutes of the fixture. A double change in central midfield on the hour mark – Anton Stach and Kevin Stöger for Jae-sung Lee and Boëtius – at least helped as they cut out some of our guests’ build-up, and the pair even played some eye-of-the-needle passes of their own. In the final quarter hour of the game, the Zerofivers looked like the more likely team to score than Köln.

We were far too sloppy on the ball

“We needed to create an impulse. Both the subs did that well when they came on, they were key to our improved second-half performance, and in the final 15 minutes we really turned up the pressure,” commented the head coach. The second half was “a tad better”, “but we only started playing like we usually do right at the end,” said Svensson, before adding that “not many if any of the lads played like they are capable of doing.” Svensson’s players agreed with this view. “We were lacking in intensity and we weren’t fully awake. You could sense from the beginning that Köln we more up for the game. And we’re usually the ones who are a step ahead of the opposition. We were far too sloppy on the ball,” said goalscorer Burkhardt.

The third draw of the season should be viewed as a point won rather than two dropped and puts the Zerofivers on 18 points after the opening 12 Bundesliga matchdays and in the top half of the table. The coaching staff and the team will now use the upcoming days to prepare and review exactly why it didn’t all go to plan on Sunday and try and put it right ahead of Friday evening’s match. Svensson wants to move on from Sunday and focus on a better performance on Friday night. “We know we’ve got a tough task ahead. We don’t have too many days in between games to train. I’ll speak to the team about it, but they know themselves that today wasn’t good enough,” concluded the head coach.

Due to the swift turnaround in between matches this week, all training session will be behind closed doors.