For all of the praise he's received after engineering last year's relegation rescue, FSV Mainz 05 trainer Bo Svensson knows that he could quickly find himself in hot water if he's unable to arrest his team's form slide at home on Friday evening.
The is good news in that Alexander Hack, Dominik Kohr, Moussa Niakhaté, and Adam Szalai are all now concurrently available to start together.
The FSV head coach called them "very important and experienced players" and added "it's clear that we've missed them."
|Bo Svensson.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/David Geieregger|
The Rheinhessen of FSV Mainz 05 will have the privilege of kicking off the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's 9th round Friday evening at home against Augsburg. Winless since matchday four and on a three-match-losing streak, the Nullfünfter desperately need to pull some momentum off one of the league's weakest sides.
Currently in 11th place, the Pfälzer could put some important distance between themselves and the relegation pack with a win. Should the Fuggerstädter take all three points, the relegation pack quickly draws closer to Mainz.
"There's no question about the importance of the match," Svensson acknowledged at his Thursday presser, "Both teams pride themselves on similar virtues. That often results in closely contested matches. I expect one like that tomorrow."
Svensson didn't have too many concrete answers as to why his team hasn't been able to get in gear in recent weeks. The Danish trainer merely remarked that "the activity, team dynamics, and intensity were missing at times".
"This was the common thread from Freiburg to Dotmund," Svensson said of the last four league fixtures.
In truth, Freiburg, Leverkusen, FC Union Berlin, and Dortmund did constitute a tough run of fixtures. Getting more than a draw against an opponent such as Augsburg should be expected. The tactically chaotic Fuggerstädter are in 16th place with only one win and a minus 10 goal differential.
Moreover, Svensson does get some key actors back. Captain Moussa Niakhaté is once again healthy enough to start. Alexander Hack also returns from COVID infection while Svensson gets Dominik Kohr back from suspension.
Though Jeremiah St. Juste remains out indefinitely with a shoulder injury that club and player have now apparently decided not to surgically repair. Svensson also has most of his preferred attackers fit enough to start. Marcus Ingvartsen and Adam Szalai can play without issue.
After giving young striker Jonathan Burkardt some time out of the lineup following his very active international break with the German U21s, Svensson essentially committed to staring him again on Friday.
"I think very highly of him [Jonathan] and he knows that," Svensson said, "With the others, these are very experienced and important players that others can lean on. It's very clear that we missed them."
|16||Stefan Bell ⚽|
|19||Moussa Niakhate (C)|
|30||Silvan Widmer ↩82|
|7||Lee Jae-Sung ↩64|
|5||Jean-Paul Boëtius ↩76|
|29||Jonathan Burkardt ⚽⚽ ↩76|
|9||Karim Onisiwo ⚽ ↩82|
|11||Marcus Ingvartsen ↪76|
|28||Ádám Szalai ↪82|
|18||Daniel Brosinski ↪82|
|8||Leandro Barreiro ↪64|
|22||Kevin Stöger ↪76|
|2||Robert Gumny ↩46|
|6||Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (C)|
|28||André Hahn ↩73|
|20||Daniel Caligiuri ↩84|
|9||Sergio Córdova ↩46|
|16||Ruben Vargas ↩85|
|21||Andi Zeqiri ↪46 ⚽|
|3||Mads Pedersen ↪73|
|32||Raphael Framberger ↪85|
|5||Tobias Strobl ↪46|
|17||Noah-Joel Sarenren-Bazee ↪84|