The right response
Two home wins against Bayern in a row after a fantastic performance / Svensson: “Confirms what we’re all about at Mainz 05.”
It is fair to say that Bayern, record Bundesliga champions and winners of ten league titles in a row, had a bad day at the office on Saturday. However, this was just a minor detail to the 33,305 fans inside the MEWA ARENA. The fans celebrated Mainz’s emphatic 3-1 victory over Bayern exuberantly and it was the Zerofivers’ second home win against FCB in a row. Although there was technically nothing to play for for either team, Svensson’s side showed everyone in the crowd that they wanted to redeem themselves after their 5-0 thrashing against Wolfsburg. “We were really concentrated throughout the contest. It was no fluke. It was a fully-deserved win,” said Martin Schmidt after the game.
The sporting director was impressed by the great atmosphere and the enthusiasm that surrounded his team’s performance on Saturday. “Today, the players should sing just like the fans,” said Schmidt. “It was an outstanding performance over 90 minutes. You have to give the players a lot of credit for bouncing back from the poor run of results in recent weeks and it’s even nicer that it came against Bayern. We showed how much quality we have as a team today and showed what we can do when we all give it 100%. On the other hand, Bayern won the league last weekend and they looked a bit fatigued because of it. We didn’t come up against the strongest Bayern side today. He continued: “When we do what we can do, we are an outstanding team. We made the most of what Bayern offered us.”
We had lots of questions to answer.
“It was certainly not an easy few days after the Wolfsburg game. We had lots of questions to answer. I think we responded really well. When you convincingly beat Bayern, the list of the things you did well is long,” explained Bo Svensson. He continued: “When you suffer a setback like we did against Wolfsburg, it can take a bit of time, but you can use it as a learning curve. I think we have all learned something from this experience.”
A deserved opening goal
“It was a very, very good performance,” Svensson said in the press conference after the game, which he had to do on his own, as the Bayern squad were already on their way to the airport due to time constraints. However, before leaving, Julian Naglesmann was full of praise for Mainz: “If you’re honest, Mainz could’ve scored eight or nine.” Nagelsmann confirmed that his side were well-beaten, which happens so infrequently in the Bundesliga.
Martin Schmidt believes it was down to the fact that Mainz wanted to give everything they possibly could to avenge their heavy defeat in Wolfsburg last week. However, the way in which the Zerofivers trainer set up his side tactically also played a part. “Bo’s strategy worked perfectly,” commented the 55-year-old. Svensson refused to pin Saturday’s win on one specific event, not even when Burkardt scored FSV’s long-overdue opener – he instead believed that his team simply were brave in attack from the first minute, and played as a powerful unit, just as he had demanded of them before the game.
Bo’s strategy worked perfectly.
The Dane hadn’t just made personnel changes but also tactical changes for this fixture, opting for a 5-4-1 formation instead of the usual 3-5-2. Dominik Kohr and Leandro Barreiro formed a midfield pivot, and Anton Stach and Jonny Burkardt started on the wings. “We beat Bayern last year using this same system. It came as a real surprise to them,” added the sporting director. “The midfield pivot with Stachi on the left-wing and Jonny on the right wing, who is a great runner in behind, allowed us to catch them out a few times.” FC Bayern could do little to stop the pressing, passionate and powerful Mainz side. The newly-crowned German champions should be pleased that the scoreline was kept at 3-1, because statistics prove that it could have been a lot worse for them than that. After just half an hour, Mainz had had 11 attempts on goal to Bayern’s one. Following Karim Onisiwo hitting the bar in the 70th minute (the fourth time Mainz had hit the woodwork in the game), Mainz had had 22 attempts on goal and Bayern just seven.
Two more performances like that needed
“We were dominant, and we never really came under real pressure at any time during the game, which could have depleted us physically or made us sloppy on the ball,” said Stefan Bell after the impressive victory. “We defended a bit deeper ten minutes into the second half because Bayern simply had too much possession. It was at this point of the game that we scored our third, a goal which ended their phase of dominating possession and took the momentum away from them. I felt as though their desire to win was broken at this point, too. We defeated Bayern comfortably and showed just how difficult it can be to play against us in that kind of form, even for a team that has just won the title,” added the defender. Another key performer, Stach, gave his opinion: “Everyone has a tough time against us when we’re at 100 per cent.”
Everyone has a tough time against us when we’re at 100 per cent.
“We’ve still got two games to play. We want to put in two more performances like that, even though we’re aware that performances like that don’t just happen. I think we’ve learned something in what has been a special week for this group. Hopefully we’ll see proof of that in our remaining matches. I’m glad that we should such a good reaction and confirmed what we’re all about at Mainz 05,” commented the Zerofivers head coach.