Pros 17.10.2019 — 17:32 Uhr

Three points as a birthday gift

Sandro Schwarz is 41 today, Rouven Schröder is 44 tomorrow: “Our aim is to bring back the away win.”

Mainz ran out 1-0 winners in this fixture last season thanks to a goal from Mateta

Birthday wishes could come true for Mainz this week. Sandro Schwarz celebrates his 41st birthday today. Sporting Director Rouven Schröder is 44 tomorrow, but the celebrations will have to wait, hopefully following an away victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday (15:30 CEST). “Our aim is to bring back the away win,” said Mainz’s head coach during the press conference on Thursday. Schwarz was confident that his team could give a repeat performance in their second away game in a row. 

The Zerofivers triumphed 2-1 in Paderborn and now they go to Düsseldorf, before 1. FC Köln come to the OPEL Arena. “The topic of there being a lot of pressure on us to beat an evenly matched opponent isn’t really in the foreground ahead of a game like this,” stressed the coach. It is more about “completing our own tasks with maximum effort, with a performance similar to the one we gave in Paderborn. That is our yardstick. We have to live up to expectations and free ourselves from any preconceptions. We have to be clear about how we want to play and what sort of charisma we want to show.”

Changed mood

 “The pressure is always great, regardless of which Bundesliga game it is. However in the week before a game, the coach and the team are all thinking about what we need for a victory. What we produce in terms of performance and readiness. In every training session, every video we watch, in every meeting and analysis,” explained the 41-year-old.

 “Everybody can imagine that the success in Paderborn did us a lot of good and gave a good feeling to everybody involved. The mood changes when you go into the international break off the back of a victory. However our second success of the season hasn’t changed anything in terms of the work we put in or how focussed we are in training. Maintaining the same intensity is the demand for the game on Saturday,” said Schwarz. The coach stressed the need for the group to create chances on goal as a unit, for intensity in tight spaces, for sharpness in the tackle, and this has been reflected Schwarz’s demands on the training ground.

Formation still not set

The fact that Fortuna Coach Friedhelm Funkel is very opponent-oriented and always reacts with different basic orders to the opponent, as he was last season, does not make preparation any easier. The question of how FSV will set up tactically is still up in the air. Last season, the team won 1-0 away at Fortuna playing a 4-3-3 formation. In Paderborn, Schwarz opted for a flat 4-4-2. But the midfield diamond has also worked very well away from home. "We're trying to find out what's best this time. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. We have to consider whether we want to overrun the centre of the park with four central midfielders in a diamond, whether we want to play with two wingers, or whether we want to start with one central striker and three central offensive midfielders. We'll keep that open." The coach still has two training sessions to find the best solution. Personnel is still up for debate. The international players will go through check-ups to see how they've held up on their travels. The issue of the full-backs is also difficult. Aarón is fit again, Ronaël-Pierre Gabriel as well, Daniel Brosinski been convincing at left-back, and Ridle Baku has played well at right-back. Schwarz announced that a "tough decision" is coming up.

However, the 05 coach expects Düsseldorf to be very aggressive and attack hard. They will want to turn things around at home after the 1-3 defeat in Berlin. "We have to be prepared for this," Schwarz warned. “It is a new challenge, and we have to take our chance and face it with our desire and our combative nature.”