Eleven of 34 Bundesliga match days are over. 1. FSV Mainz 05 is in seventh place and has twelve points more than last year. Coach Bo Svensson takes a position on the upswing of his team in relation to SWR Sport.
If you compare the table after eleven match days of the previous Bundesliga season and the current ranking list, the statistics clearly show the changes 1. FSV Mainz 05 went through within one year. In November 2020 it was 17th with just five points, it is now seventh with 17 points. No other team in the league has improved as much in this comparison as the 05er.
SWR Sport: Bo Svensson, a few days behind the Gladbach game: Was it now a point won – or was it after all two lost points?
Bo Svensson: I haven’t rated it that way yet. I thought we performed well overall. It was also due to the Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer that we didn’t win. But we showed a reaction in the second half and were actually the better team against a great team for over 90 minutes. It was very positive, we can take a lot of positive things from this game. Then of course the atmosphere that prevailed in the stadium. I found that very unusual and I was very pleased.
The previous record of Mainz 05: Seventh place after eleven games, 17 points. How are you currently looking back on the first third of the season?
Generally positive. But of course I also see things that we could have done better. We had a period of three lost games in a row where we weren’t entirely satisfied. Then the beginning of the season with Corona. We had a couple of important failures, especially in defense. So we actually mastered the resistance that was there quite well. But I believe that this team can play football even better, that we have a lot more plans this season. I don’t know what that means for the points. But I think we will be able to play even better as the season progresses.
Correct team training during the international break is hardly possible
You mentioned it: As a coach, you of course still see room for improvement somewhere. Now in the international break, what are the points at which you start? What’s on the agenda?
That is of course difficult. We only have ten field players available. That is, over half of our normal squad isn’t there. You just have to see what is worth doing with the guys who are here. It’s always difficult if you don’t have a highlight at the weekend. We will try to give the guys what they need, athletically and physically. But we will also give them a break during this international break. It is important to clear your head again and get the urge to play football again. And also want to have each other again.
Two players who are not there now, but who have guaranteed success in the last few weeks, are the attackers Karim Onisiwo and Jonathan Burkardt. Did you expect the two of them to take off as much this season as they did in the early stages?
That might sound a bit arrogant: Yes! But I find it a bit presumptuous to say that they were the guarantors of success. I think that we also staged it very well. Both from the very back in the defense of our full-backs Silvan Widmer and Aaron Martin, who were also goal setter. And then Jean-Paul Boetius and Jae-sung Lee on the eight. That was an interaction with the team. But of course the two boys were in good shape, prepared goals and scored goals. But to be honest, that doesn’t come as a surprise to me and I also expect it to continue like this – even if maybe not with the quota. Karim still has to improve in front of the goal and Johnny has to deliver even more stable at this high level.
“I’m not worried about Burkardt”
It may not come as a surprise to you that national coach Hansi Flick once rang the doorbell for Jonathan Burkardt. In this case, as a coach, are you perhaps very happy if you haven’t been appointed to the senior national team yet? Wouldn’t the hype get too big too?
No, I’m really less worried about that. I’ve known him for a very, very long time. And it is simply part of being good enough and then being called to be able to deal with it. And it won’t change what I ask of him, both on and off the pitch. You are not suddenly a different person because the media write differently about you or the people I see differently.
Thanks to the fans in the stadium
You have already mentioned: The atmosphere against Mönchengladbach was great in the stadium. The fans, even though it wasn’t a win, went along well and supported the team. What does that mean to you personally? And how is it received by the team?
I’m sure that the team will go down very well. In the end, that’s why we’re doing this, the many hours of training, the many meetings. Also to bring joy, then also for me personally. When I came here in January, it was in the middle of the corona pandemic, there wasn’t a good mood, a lot of negative headlines about Mainz. I said we have to go back to what we are. We have to stand for a special footballer. Like before, in a special way. The people recognized what the guys delivered. This connection between spectators and players is something special and you don’t experience that in all stadiums.