Pros 16.05.2022 — 14:28 Uhr

"We need lads that are desperate to play here"

The Mainz bosses spoke about 2021/22, squad planning and other topics after the season ended

Bo speaks to the fans at the MEWA ARENA.

The 2021/22 season is over. 1. FSV Mainz 05 ended the campaign with a 2-2 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt together with fans and staff members at the MEWA Arena. “We celebrated at home,” said Christian Heidel on a long night of partying that went well into Sunday morning. “It was great fun. There were around 400 of us. It wasn’t just about the players, the whole club celebrated together. It was well worth it,” reported Heidel during interviews with the media alongside Bo Svensson and Martin Schmidt. They talked about this season, the squad and other topics.

The Mainz head coach stated that the statistics from this season showed a few interesting things, including that the team have played fewer long balls in comparison to the second half of last season and have more flexibility in their game. “We still play some long balls, but we have some structure in our own play with the ball, which makes it harder to predict what we’ll do. This is a step in the right direction,” stated Svensson. “We’ve shown that we can defend well and that we’re good at both attacking and defending counter-attacks. We always used the same system in the second half of the season last year. We’ve got better with possession and we want to keep that up without losing our main strengths – our intensity and togetherness. In order to score goals, you don’t just need the ball. You need to be playing with the right intensity and quality on the pitch too,” added the coach. “If you only play without the ball, you’ll be running on empty after 70 minutes.”

In order to score goals, you don’t just need the ball. You need to be playing with the right intensity and quality on the pitch too 

All of this will play a role when the club look to bring in new players. “We won’t just sign players that can only help us when they have the ball. They need to have the basic attributes that we want for a Mainz player. That includes the intensity they play at, their physical capabilities and their personality.” One player that had all that was Jean-Paul Boëtius, according to Svensson. The Dutchman, who said goodbye to the club at the weekend, will be missed both on and off the pitch. He was an extrovert, who got on with all the other players and could speak a number of different languages. “We watch highlights of what the players can do and then speak to them so we can find out if they will fit in here,” said the Zerofivers coach. 

Always together.

There will be changes to the squad

Boëtius no longer gave the impression that he really wanted to be at the club. “We need lads that are desperate to play here. We didn’t want a Djanga that wasn’t 100% committed to the cause here.” As a result, Heidel didn’t offer him a new deal. “It wasn’t down to money. We just didn’t have the feeling that he was desperate to stay. A player that wants to play here should give us that impression that they are desperate to. We shouldn’t need to convince anyone with money,” said the 58-year-old. Boëtius also didn’t say that he wanted to stay in Mainz. Svensson said it was a decision he could understand and accept.

There will be several changes to the squad over the summer. Boëtius has said goodbye, whilst his compatriot Jeremiah St. Juste has also left. The defender has joined Sporting CP in Portugal. Daniel Brosinski also waved farewell to the club on Saturday. He is looking for a new challenge in his career. Kevin Stöger is another player who will not be in Mainz for next season.

Four signings already completed

The club have already secured four signings for next season. Dominik Kohr has joined permanently from Eintracht Frankfurt and he will be joined by two more Eagles. Danny da Costa, who was on loan at Mainz last season, will also move on a permanent basis, whilst Aymen Barkok is the third new man for the Zerofivers.

Barkok is a real talent, feels the Mainz boss, and someone that he wants to develop into a player who can play in Boëtius’ position. “I’ve spoken to him a few times. He’s had a few disappointing years in Frankfurt. If he wants to achieve something in his career, which he can, he needs to work really hard now. His talent is no secret, but things haven’t quite worked out for him with his last few coaches. It’s up to us to get the best out of him, but he needs to play his part too, he knows that. He’s ready to get going here. You can get stuck in a rut when you’re at a club for a long time. It will do him good to have a fresh start in a new place.”

It’s like he’s from round here.

FSV also secured the services of Anthony Caci from Strasbourg earlier this year. The defender, who joined on a free transfer, is versatile and one player that Svensson and Heidel are really excited about, particularly because of his personality and how he will fit into the FSV squad. “We’re 100% certain that he will fit in perfectly here. It’s like he’s from round here, and that played a big part in the deal. He had so many clubs to choose from, but wanted to come here right away. I’m so confident that he’s a 100% Mainz 05 player, he just wants to be at home here,” explained Heidel. “Anthony is a special player. He is comfortable on both sides and that’s why he’s played in almost all defensive positions for Strasbourg this season. He hasn’t played in the centre, but everywhere else. We will need to see where he can help us the most. I’m just happy that he’ll be playing for us next season,” stated Svensson.

Captain Moussa Niakhaté could depart the club this summer.

Heidel: “Another Niakhaté would have to develop into one”

It’s no great secret that Moussa Niakhaté could depart the club. “We’ll have to see what happens there,” said the sporting director. “His desire to move isn’t as big as Jeremiah’s was. The most important thing will be the question: ‘Do we believe we can replace him?’ We can’t afford to let him go and not have a plan. We don’t have to sell anyone for financial reasons, however it may make sense to,” said Heidel. The captain may be sold this summer as he could leave on a free transfer next year. “We would only let him go if we have a plan and know what we’d do with the money. We couldn’t just buy another Niakhaté. We don’t have the money to buy a top player like him. Another Niakhaté would have to develop into one.”

The club will continue to be active on the market, albeit only with players they can afford. “We’re capable of doing business, but we’re also very picky. We don’t just want great guys that can’t play football. We want players that will fit in here and are good players,” stressed Heidel.