The support from the stands, the atmosphere after the final whistle, the reactions from the players and the crowd made it clear just how important that victory against Köln was for FSV Mainz 05. “We needed points and we won,” said Robin Quaison, who scored a spectacular goal to make it 2-1. “I am happy.”
On Friday evening, the Zerofivers celebrated their 100th home win in the Bundesliga. As Quaison said, those three points were desperately needed after the bitter disappointment of the loss away at Düsseldorf. Upon being questioned about the game plan for the match, Quaison’s response was simply, “to win, that’s all.” This victory has made it nine points from nine games for Mainz, who now sit in 13th place in the table. Yet, this season has felt at little worse than it did at this point of the last term.
Missing out on draws
“We have lost more games than we did last year. And defeats always have an influence over the general mood. We missed a few possible opportunities to draw that would have changed the atmosphere completely”, claimed Sandro Schwarz. A year ago, Mainz began the 2018/19 season with back-to-back victories against VfB Stuttgart and FC Augsburg. Three draws (against Nürnburg. Wolfsburg and Hertha BSC) and four defeats (against Leverkusen, Schalke, Gladbach and, on the ninth matchday, at home against FC Bayern) followed, compared to Mainz’s current record of three wins and six defeats.
It was Jean-Paul Boëtius who scored the much-celebrated equaliser after Köln took the lead through Simon Terodde. Ádám Szalai had held it up well in the box, before laying the ball off to Boëtius, who produced a sumptuous finish. He got free of the defender and then slid it delightfully between Timo Horn’s legs. The Mainz attacking midfielders had had the opportunity to bring it level a short while before, but the Köln goalie tipped his shot over the bar.
“Today I showed just what I expect from myself, what everyone expects and, of course, what the coach expects too. I just should have shown it all season. I hope that I can keep up this form”, said the Dutchman later. The 25-year-old commented on the current situation and heaped praise on the work of Sandro Schwarz. “It was all so negative after Düsseldorf. We kept calm, stayed together and turned the game around in a difficult position today. I think that is what Mainz 05 means. Never give up, keep on going”, said the creative maestro.
Schröder: we needed that today
“A lot of stuff was floating around in the papers and on social media. About our head coach too. But Sandro works extremely hard; he does so much and has so many ideas in his head. He does everything for the good of this team and gets so many negative comments on social media. He always gives more than 100%, only we often don’t see that on the pitch. When the ref started the game, it is then our job to get it done”, Schröder explained. “After this win, the head coach can breathe easy again.”
Quaison’s goal from 25 metres out was emblematic of FSV’s mindset for this game. “You can’t really say much about the goal. I got the ball from Djanga [Boëtius], took a couple of steps, took a pop and it went in,” said the Swede. Sporting director Rouven Schröder later commented on the goal, saying, “we needed that today.” The same can be said for Levin Öztunali’s finish to make it 3-1. Öztunali had a great personal performance on the night, and his goal settled the game.