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1. FSV Mainz 05 in der Bundesliga: Auf der Suche nach der Konstanz


Status: 01/12/2023 09:21 a.m

In Marbella, Spain, 1. FSV Mainz 05 prepared for the start of the league. The main focus was on getting more consistency and continuity into your own game.

This is how it went before the winter break

Consistency remained Mainz’s weak point in the first half of the 2022/23 season. What was expressed last season in an outstanding home strength (4th place in the home table) and a blatant weakness away from home (17th place) has turned 180 degrees in the current first series. Now the home games are causing problems for Mainz. Only Augsburg scored fewer points at home. On the other hand, only three teams (Munich, Frankfurt and Freiburg) are more dangerous away from home.

In addition, the 05ers rarely managed to play their game for 90 minutes. The Mainz team were often only able to put their FSV DNA on the pitch for more than 45 minutes through aggressive work against the ball and a stable defense, coupled with fast switching. “We showed good halves, but we also had bad phases time and again,” said captain Silvan Widmer. His coach Bo Svensson agrees. “There was no continuity. Not even in training, if we’re honest.” Nevertheless, Mainz 05 is hardly worse off than at the same time in the 2021/22 season with two points fewer than last year.

Transfers: storm and defense in view

Jonathan Burkardt is still out at the beginning of December after an injury-plagued first half of the season, including knee surgery. At the beginning of the season he could even hope for a World Cup participation, but in his eleven appearances in the first half of the season he was not able to build on his performance from the previous season. Eleven goals in the 2021/2022 season are currently offset by a single goal.

“He had to deal with a lot of setbacks this season,” said Svensson, who coached Burkardt when he was a youth player in Mainz. The attacker dropped out three times in the first half of the season due to injury or illness. “It hurts me the most for Jonny himself but we don’t have to play around the fact that he’s an important player for us.” That’s why Mainz is looking for a striker. Most recently, South Korean national striker Gae-sung Cho was traded.

YouTube video from SWR Sport: “Mainz is sweating and working hard in the training camp in Marbella – YOUR FSV #52 | SWR Sport”

A second post that occupies the 05ers is central defence. Maxim Leitsch arrived from Bochum in the summer but only made seven games and a few unfortunate errors in the first half of the season before being diagnosed with physical and mental exhaustion. Niklas Tauer, another alternative for defense and defensive midfield, was loaned to Schalke 04 for a year and a half.

Unlike Burkardt, Leitsch attended the training camp and is making good progress. “I’m really happy that he’s back,” said fellow defender Alexander Hack. “His style alone brings new energy. He is a cheerful person.” Svensson is also happy about the internal newcomer. “The belief in his qualities is still there and hopefully he will be available to us again sooner rather than later.” For both him and Burkardt, however, it is not yet clear when that will be the case. Additional staff is therefore expressly desired.

“My wishes are clear”, Svensson does not want to be elicited too much in terms of transfers. In principle, he is always in contact with sporting director Christian Heidel and sporting director Martin Schmidt. “You know how I see the squad, but it also has to make sense. It has to be a player who really strengthens us and not just complements.”

Training camp lifts Svensson’s spirits

In the training camp, Svensson showed his calmer side. “So far, the quality of training has been very good,” the coach was satisfied with his team. The two main points on his agenda in Marbella were building good team chemistry and working on consistency, with which the Mainz virtues should be shown over a longer period of time.

In particular, the coach wants to focus on working off the ball, which has always been one of Mainz’s strengths in previous years. “We weren’t among the best teams there. If we continue to perform like this in the areas that should define us, then we will have problems,” warns the 43-year-old. “That’s why it’s important to make ourselves aware of what our identity is.”

One eye on the league, one eye on the cup?

The Mainzers don’t want to be elicited clearly defined goals for the season. Everything is geared towards the intense start to the year with five games within 15 days. In the league there are games against the relegation candidates Stuttgart and Bochum as well as the European Cup contenders Dortmund and Union Berlin. “We definitely want to start well, that’s important for the feeling,” said goalkeeper Robin Zentner. “It’s important to put the full focus on it and let everything else be for now.”

In addition to the robust start to the league, there is another highlight: the DFB Cup round of 16. “It’s a big dream for us to one day win the cup with Mainz 05. We have that again this year,” said Hack, who is well aware of the difficult task. FC Bayern Munich is visiting Mainz on February 1st. The most thankless lot par excellence. “Bayern are coming to Mainz, but they didn’t like it the last time,” the defensive player gives his team a chance to progress.

The motto is wait and see. After the kick-off program, “it will become clear in which direction the whole thing is going,” says Zentner. With a little more consistency, staying up in the league should only be the minimum goal.

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