"We always need players who can lead the way"
Heaps of praise for goalkeeper Robin Zentner and centre-back Jeremiah St. Juste after the first win of the season.
When 1. FSV Mainz 05 have to rotate goalkeepers because of an injury, it’s not a cause for concern. That’s because our 24-year-old second-choice keeper Robin Zentner always finds his best form when it’s needed. He’s proven it before and he proved it again in the 2-1 win against Hertha BSC at the weekend, coming into the team to replace the injured Florian Müller. “It was a top performance,” said winning goalscorer Jeremiah St. Juste. “Robin was there for us, which was great and spurred us on as a team.”
It was the goalkeeper’s calming presence over the 90 minutes, his commanding display and essential saves that kept Mainz in the match. And, in the end, it was St. Juste’s headed goal that secured victory; the Dutch central defender nodded the ball home following a pinpoint corner from Daniel Brosinski. Sandro Schwarz was full of praise for the 22-year-old: “Jeremiah isn’t the biggest centre-back you’ll ever see but he has the leap and the mentality to get his head on the ball.” The new signing from Rotterdam made his debut at the OPEL ARENA after recovering from a shoulder injury. “I am obviously very happy. We all are. It’s a fantastic feeling to get our first win of the season,” said St. Juste. “A first home game and a first goal – it feels great.”
“We conceded very late in the game and that’s when you know you have to do something because you won’t get many more chances. I go up for the corner, jump up and head it into the back of the net. Amazing feeling.”
Mainz’s keeper should be equally happy with his first appearance of the season against Hertha. “He was outstanding,” said the head coach when asked about his replacement keeper, who did his job as perfectly as ever. Schwarz sees his performance as proof that having the right attitude is essential. “Robin always has the right attitude and trains like a maniac, which is bound to increase the likelihood that he puts in a good performance whenever he is called upon. I’m pleased because it shows how well he has handled the difficult selection decision we made in pre-season.”
The tall shot-stopper kept his cool during and after the game. Was he satisfied with his comeback? ‘Yeah,” replied Zentner in concise fashion. “But it’s no different than any other game. You know what you have to do and you have to make sure do it.” There was nothing the keeper could do about Hertha’s equaliser but he doesn’t blame anyone else for the goal either: “You try and stop every goal. We were open on the flank but had numbers in the middle – Hertha just have some tall players who are tough to beat in the air.”
Top form in training
Other than that, Zentner kept out every attempt that came his way. He had also already shown that he was in top form in training during the international break. However, that’s not because he was expecting to make a first start after four defeats in a row. “I like to think that I always train well. I don’t really think about it, I just try to bring my best to training and have some fun as well because I know the team has been struggling. There always has to be players who lead the way in times like that.” Zentner is now making the most of his time on the pitch while Müller is out with a hand injury. When asked if he would start between the posts for the away game at Schalke 04 on Friday evening, Zentner replied: "I'm not thinking about about that today."
Matchwinner St.Juste certainly doesn’t intend to give up his place in the starting XI. “I don’t have a problem with my shoulder anymore. I’ve trained hard to make my comeback and I don’t want to drop out of the team again anytime soon,” explained the Dutchman. “I think that it’s easier for us to head into the next game on the back of a victory. But we mustn’t get carried away. We have to progress together, learn from our mistakes and give a thousand percent."