Time to finally get our rewards
Schwarz: “We need to be able to deal with setbacks and problems”
Sandro Schwarz stated that a good performance wouldn’t be enough to pick up any points from FC Bayern München on Saturday in the Allianz Arena. The Zerofivers needed a flawless 90 minutes in order to reach their goal. The first 35 minutes did go perfectly for Schwarz’s side, but the record champions eventually got the better of Mainz. Just like against Kaiserslautern, Freiburg and Gladbach, little setbacks caused stressful situations, which eventually meant Mainz fell to another defeat.
The Zerofivers’ start to Saturday’s game was extremely impressive. After a rapid counter attack, Jean-Paul Boëtius gave the visitors the lead. Mainz put Bayern under enormous amounts of pressure, pressed them high up the pitch and kept them away from their goal in the early stages. Bayern failed to create any real danger in the first 30 minutes, so Mainz’s gameplan was working perfectly. Schwarz’s men then managed to withstand the host’s first serious period of pressure without conceding too. However, two lapses in concentration from Mainz saw FC Bayern clinically score twice before the break, before adding a third shortly afterwards.
“We simply fell away again”
The head coach was massively frustrated with the way his Mainz side seemed to forget about their game plan after going a few goals down. “We had the chance to make it 3-2, but then conceded a fourth goal. After that, the players didn’t give enough individually and the team didn’t play well enough,” said Schwarz on Tuesday. The pattern from the first few competitive games of the season repeated itself again in Munich. A strong start to the game was followed by conceding several goals, which, according to the coach led to “the side completely falling away again.” As a result of this pattern repeating itself, the Zerofivers once again failed to pick up a point and their miserable start to the campaign continued.
The coaching team believe that the “side’s mindset after conceding goals needs to improve”, as well as the ability to be able to “deal with setbacks and problems.” Schwarz also pointed out that his side is definitely capable of playing good football, but also putting in strong mental performances, which they did towards the back end of last season on several occasions.
Simulating stressful situations
His job as head coach is now, on the one hand, to remind the players of these things, but also to address these issues clearly. Schwarz was able to find one positive though: “We would start games differently if we had mental problems with our game”, explained the Zerofivers’ head coach after a partially dominant first few performances. However the next step is to not be fazed by setbacks, which are always a possibility. “We need to communicate more on the pitch, and make sure we stick to the game plan the coach sets out for us,” recent signing Ádám Szalai claimed after the game in Munich, and demanded that simply having good periods of play is not good enough for a 90 minute game of football.
However, Schwarz said “our composure has always been excellent.” Of course it’s important to point out our mistakes so that we can work on them. The coaching team took measures towards this straight after the final whistle in Munich by getting the players to talk about where they went wrong. The players, including those who left on Sunday for international duty, were all shown video analysis of Saturday’s game. During the two weeks of the international break, difficult situations will be recreated in training, and “our footballing instincts, disregarding tactics” will once again be revealed, Schwarz explained. However, one mistake that the coach won’t be making is treating the upcoming game against Hertha BSC “like a cup final, as we don’t need to place too much importance on it. It’s vital that we don’t do that. We are well aware of how important the next few games are, because we need to start picking up points. But we need to stop saying, “we must”, and start saying, “we want to!”