Pros 03.01.2019 — 22:07 Uhr

Training begins in 2019

Schwarz: "Everyone raring to go "

23 players were involved in the first session of the new year

The Zerofivers returned to action in 2019 with a 90-minute training session at Bruchweg on Thursday afternoon. 19 outfield players and four goalkeepers took part in the full programme, with Philipp Mwene, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Emil Berggreen working individually on neighbouring pitches. It was the first of three training sessions that Mainz will complete ahead of their winter training camp in Marbella’s Estepona from Sunday, but not before a friendly against TuS Marienborn on Saturday afternoon.

Robin Quaison, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Karim Onisiwo all did a reduced session, as they’re still battling a cold. Mousse Niakhaté is also still sidelined with a knee problem that he picked up in the final game of 2018 against Hoffenheim.

Two friendlies in Andalusia

However, head coach Sandro Schwarz is expecting all of them to be on board for the training camp, although he will have to go without Leandro Barreiro, who celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, as he has exams scheduled for next week. “We haven’t got a particular number in mind for the size of the group. If it makes sense to take someone with us, then they will be in Marbella. We will make a final decision on Saturday,” said Schwarz. For the boss, the most important thing is that his charges have returned from the Christmas break “raring to go”.

Apart from the intense training sessions, the Zerofivers will also play three friendlies in Spain. Mainz face Belgian first-division side Standard Liege on Tuesday, before playing SC Freiburg twice four days later on 12th January, in order for as many players as possible to get 90 minutes under their belt.