Bis next Sunday, Bo Svensson would like to have all players at 100 percent. However, the coach of FSV Mainz 05 knows that this wish will not come true. But without taking the opponent lightly, it has to be enough on Sunday (6 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the DFB Cup and on Sky) in the DFB Cup game at third division club Erzgebirge Aue even without full performance.
Two weeks before the start of the Bundesliga season, it can be seen that Mainz are again at a high level in their work against the ball. This was shown not least in the test matches during the training camp. Even against Besiktas Istanbul (0:1), when only four previous regulars were on the field from the start and several young players were involved, the processes worked.
The 05ers didn’t allow many scoring chances against Newcastle United (1-0); Stefan Bell, Alexander Hack and newcomer Maxim Leitsch, who formed the central defense together for the first time, passed the test with flying colors against the Premier League representative, who started with the best line-up. Offensive pressing, a discipline in which the 05ers have once again been at the top of the Bundesliga since Svensson took office, also looked good.
Nevertheless, the Dane warns – two training sessions in which the players fell short of their expectations in terms of attitude, body language and intensity, and the confusion that arose on Saturday in the final test against Athletic Bilbao (1-1) after the goal was conceded for around 20 minutes , give enough reason to do so.
If Mainz 05 wants to survive in the league against financially better off opponents, the team can’t afford to be negligent. The reformed squad still needs time to find itself. The fact that attacking midfielder Aymen Barkok, who came from Eintracht Frankfurt, was only unable to take part in the final test against Bilbao and left-back Anthony Caci due to injury is a shortcoming. Even though Svensson is convinced that both will help the team given their performance in training.
There is a question mark behind the occupation of the storm. Despite five attackers, Svensson doesn’t want to talk about a luxury problem. It would not come as a surprise if Mainz still tried to hand Marcus Ingvartsen away after eleven months. The Dane clearly falls behind his competitors. Those responsible will not take such a step without having a stronger replacement at hand.