“We like a challenge here in Mainz!”
It was made certain on Sunday that the match against BVB would be played this week, but there is still uncertainty in terms of the squad: “Many players are doubtful”
As Bo Svensson finished work on the training pitch at 16:30 on Sunday afternoon and spoke to the press digitally from his office, he gave the journalists an update on the state of play at 1. FSV Mainz 05: The Zerofivers’ match at home to Borussia Dortmund, postponed and rescheduled due to a high number of Covid-19 cases in their squad, would definitely be played at the rescheduled time, on Wednesday March 16th, with kick-off at 18:30 CET.
It is not yet certain which players Mainz will be able to field in this tough match against the second-placed side in the Bundesliga. Svensson does not know himself who will be available, he said – there are still too many players with physical recovery work to do after overcoming their infections and leaving isolation to make a clear decision. “We still don’t know who we’ll have available to play,” the Dane explained. Two players are yet to test negative and leave isolation, but have a test scheduled for Monday to do that. “A couple of players will be able to help us out, and a couple more will be able to help in smaller parts, but there are still big question marks around many of them.”
There are still big question marks around many of them
To play a match against an opponent like Borussia Dortmund under conditions such as these might be a cause for worry for Bo Svensson but, decisively, he said “Absolutely not. We’ll be putting out a side more than capable of doing well against them,” emphasised the 42-year-old, who said he still feels the effects of his Covid infection in some situations like climbing stairs. “Not everybody will be available to play, but we’re playing at home against a quality opponent. Hopefully we’ll also have a lot of fans there to push the team on. It’s a huge challenge for us, but we like a challenge here in Mainz! Our fans can rest assured that we’ll have eleven of our best out on the pitch and a coaching staff and bench behind them who are well up for the game and will take on the challenge with all their might. We’ll have to see what happens at the end of the day, but I can’t wait for this game!” said Svensson, passionately.
“I think we’ll manage”
It was made clear on Sunday that Mainz would have a first-team goalkeeper between the sticks against BVB. “I think we’ll manage,” added sporting director Christian Heidel.
Gingerly and under the watchful eye of doctors, both Robin Zentner and Lasse Rieß were both able to catch a few balls and return to part of training after testing negative at the start of the weekend, the head coach reported. Svensson hopes that both ‘keepers will be able to push forward day by day, session by session. Finn Dahmen remains out of action with an injury. The first few sessions the first team have completed over the last few days have gone well, Svensson said, but medical assessments done on the players showed that there were very large differences in the physical condition of the players, depending on the severity and length of the infections they had. Sporting director Heidel is well aware, though, that a negative test result should not be taken as a clean bill of health – players should not expect to be playing high-level professional sport like a Bundesliga match just a few hours after being allowed to leave isolation.
Health is the main priority
Svensson has said that he has ten players who were able to train for the full session. There were a dozen in actual fact, but Alex Hack and Dominik Kohr are both suspended for the match on Wednesday and cannot play. “We’ll manage it,” said Heidel once again to conclude. “We won’t be taking any risks,” added the head coach. “Playing football is important and the Bundesliga is important, but we will never take risks with the health of our players.”