“We have to put that one behind us”
Stefan Hofmann commented after being put out of the DFB-Pokal at the Betzenberg: “Yesterday could have been a really brilliant day, but we didn’t make what we could have made from it on and off the pitch.”
Yesterday the unthinkable happened: FSV Mainz 05 are out of the DFB-Pokal. Sandro Schwarz’s side suffered their first first-round exit in five years at the hands of rivals 1. FC Kaiserslauten. Being defeated by a third-tier outfit was a really sobering experience for all involved. “It was a day in which everything went against us, but we have to put it behind us. That’s how it goes sometimes in sport”, said Stefan Hofmann after the whistle.
The chairman saw exactly the same thing as the 40,000 spectators in the stadium - a game plan that the coach has rolled out before the game: quality on the ball, quick play and taking chances. Mainz dominated every aspect of the game and the opponents seemingly had no answer. They sat back and absorbed the pressure, while Mainz carved out eight great chances in the first half, but they didn’t manage to put the ball in the net. However, Mainz grew quieter and quieter, gave the ball away on many occasions and made mistakes which allowed the pendulum to swing the other way.
Schwarz spoke later about how well they played in the first half an hour. “We lived up to our own standards in the first 30 minutes, had plenty of shots on goal and a number of opportunities to take the lead”, recalled the Mainz manager. “Then we went quiet and it started with us giving the ball away repeatedly. We fell apart defensively and allowed too many counter attacks.” FCK didn’t show any signs of capitalizing though, “but then the game changed its tone in the second half, as is often the case in this competition”, said Schwarz.
Responsible for Kaiserslautern’s momentum
Mainz’s uncertainties, Lautern’s counter-attacks and free-kicks “all gave them the momentum. These thing broke our strides. We should have continued playing the way we did in the first 30 minutes and scored a goal. We were willing to fight and grind, but weren’t precise enough,” explained the Mainz coach. “We didn’t deal well with going behind and became very hectic. Our final ball was sloppy and our finishing wasn’t good enough. A lot of little things didn’t go our way. It was all very frustrating.” Kaiserslautern made it 2-0 soon after Jean-Paul Boëtius and Jonathan Burkardt had missed great chances to equalise and take the game to extra time, which summed up the game for the Zerofivers. “It was our fault that they had the momentum. Unfortunately we are out and lost the derby,” said a disappointed Schwarz.
A small section of the Mainz away block let flares off during the game and tossed fireworks onto the pitch after the second goal, which added to the club’s frustration after the game. “There’s no two ways about it, it was completely unacceptable,” said the club chairman. “We will have to talk about this and can’t let it be. On the whole, we are happy that 6,500 fans followed us away from home again,” explained Hofmann. “Yesterday could have been a really brilliant day, but we didn’t make what we could have made from it on and off the pitch.”