Pros 24.06.2022 — 14:20 Uhr

Zentner: “A special occasion for everyone in the region”

Ahead of the first pre-season friendly on Saturday, Mainz’s number 1 speaks about the game against his hometown club and his goals for the coming weeks

Tuesday evening saw Zentner and co. return to training.

When 1. FSV Mainz 05 meet their partner club, 1. FC Kiedrich, in Geisenheim for their first pre-season friendly of the season, it will be a special game for one man more than most: Robin Zentner is especially looking forward to the game as he takes on the club from his current hometown. The 27-year-old knows the region very well, being born in Rüdesheim, growing up in Eltville and living in Kiedrich. “It will definitely be a fun experience. I’m looking forward to the weekend and think it’ll be a special occasion for everyone in the region, myself especially,” said the goalkeeper.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Zerofivers returned to the training pitch for the first time since the end of the season, Zentner getting “a good impression” of the team following the session, which included new signings Daddy da Costa, Anthony Caci and Maxim Leitsch. “The lads have been on it straight away, and the new guys have come in well – I think everyone’s up for it. We were able to meet the fans on Tuesday, which was great. They welcomed us brilliantly and there was a top atmosphere. Our last season has really given us some self-confidence going into this pre-sesason,” said the FSV goalkeeper, who will complete the first test of pre-season with the rest of the team. It’s a home game for Zentner, even if the game isn’t taking place at the MEWA ARENA.

Excitement from all sides

“I’m from Eltville, where I spent the first 19 or 20 years of my life,” said  Mainz’s number 1, appreciating the Rheingau’s special mix of calmness and connectivity to the nearby big cities of Mainz, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. ”It’s my home, because I went to school in Eltville, have always lived there and have lots of family and friends in he area.” Zentner has lived in Kiedrich for a little over two years now, “a small, quiet village,” he described, adding that more than a few of his neighbours are looking forward to the game.

Zentner, who knows a few of the FC Kiedrich squad personally, is looking forward to the match, which is being held in Geisenheim. “It’s pretty funny. It was a complete coincidence that we organised a friendly against Kiedrich. I think it’ll be a special occasion for everyone in the region, myself included of course,” the goalkeeper said, who will look to use the match against the eighth-tier side, despite the class difference, to get back into rhythm following the summer break. “We’re at a very early stage in pre-season, and at this point it’s just about getting into the feeling of playing football once again.”

Club partnerships “a great thing”

Even if he friendly will not have the intensity or speed of a competitive game, it will be a useful test, said Zentner. “Even with lower-league clubs, there are always players who have played at higher levels, and there are at least two very quick guys here. They always carry a bit of danger with them,” added the 27-year-old, “But the main thing is that we get off to a good start and make improvements to the things we need to, so that we can deliver at the top level. It definitely helps when you aren’t at maximum pressure, just working on finding the rhythm.”

For FC Kiedrich’s players, who are able to play the Zerofivers through the club’s partnership program, it will be a memorable experience. “You can see that it’ll be an absolute highlight for the team – for most of the lads it’s the biggest game of their lives and a really cool experience. Even as a professional player, you can imagine how that feels. When I played against Wehen Wiesbaden in my youth with Eltville, we all had a similar feeling,” explained Zentner, adding his support for the club’s partnership program. “Amateur teams often, and with good reason, feel at a disadvantage compared to professional  sides, so I think if we can bring them some interest through games like this and strengthen our work with them with partnerships, it’s always going to be a great thing.”

A week after the friendly against Kiedrich, the Zerofivers have another test on the cards against Wormatia Worms. July 31st sees FSV’s competitive season start proper, as they take on Erzgebirge Aue in the DFB-Pokal first round. The aims before then are clear: “I think it’s important that we make a start in the way we mean to go on, and that we keep developing Bo’s game plan, build ourselves up and get the new lads into those things. The changes we’ve had are a little bit of an upheaval, but that means there’s an opportunity to make little changes that will improve our gam even more and bring the new signings even closer to Mainz 05 as a club, the style of play, our training ethos and working together. I also think it’s important to do that, because it’s definitely not the same everywhere we go,” said the goalkeeper. First things first, though: a home game for Robin Zentner on Saturday.