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Mainz 05
Union Berlin
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Svensson gives squad updates ahead of Union

Mainz 05 trainer Bo Svensson discussed injuries, competition for places, and the transfer status of several players during his Friday press conference.
Bo Svensson, with some deft tactical tinkering, was able to ensure that his Rheinhessen got their 2022/23 campaign off to a winning start last weekend away at Bochum. The FSV's Danish trainer now faces a rather stern test in this season's home debut. FC Union Berlin are coming to town, full of confidence after claiming their third straight league (and fourth consecutive on the trot) derby win over Hertha BSC.

At his final pre-match presser on Friday, Svensson declared himself excited about the pressures associated with the fresh challenge. Essentially admitting that, just like last week, he would have to build a lineup without lead-striker Jonathan Burkardt and captain Silvan Widmer.

It looks to be the case that Svensson will once again roll with Edimilson Fernandes at the right-wing back position. The Nullfünfter gaffer offered up praise for the Swiss international, who seems to have finally found a place in the squad after back-to-back loan-outs during Svensson''s regime.

Interestingly enough, Fernandes' opposite member at left wing-back is also a player who many assumed no longer fit into Svensson's plans. After endless rumors of a transfer out to his native Spain, Aaron Martin recently voiced his public commitment to remaining in the Pfalz.

"It's good that he said it publicly," Svensson noted when asked about the one-time record transfer, "But I wasn't surprised. It was always my wish that he would stay. Aaron is an important part of the team and will remain so."

Svensson did neverthless make clear that he welcomed competition for Aaron's spot. The newly acquired Anthony Caci and the wholly underutilized former Bielefeld spark Anderson Lucoqui (despite outgoing transfer rumors) remained candidates for the role, the coach emphasized.

"Someone else is always coming around the corner," Svensson stressed when discussing the position, "There are always more options and questions for the coach. Caci is absolutely a candidate. Lucoqui has others ahead of him, but has quality on the outside."

With respect to the state of the Mainzer attack, Svensson answered questions about his Danish compatriot Marcus Ingvartsen. One of this summer's key signings has been held up by injuries and a general sense that he doesn't fit into the type of tactics his coach wishes to run. The Dane remained on the bench last week while Svensson turned to the younger center-forward Suliman "Marlon" Mustapha in relief.

"It's sometimes hard for an offensive player," Svensson explained, "Marcus is a different type than the other strikers. His strength isn't in deep runs, but in combination play within the box. It all depends. In any rate, Marlon [Mustapha's] use [last week] had nothing to do with Marcus' performance in training, but rather Marlon's qualities."

"For me as a coach, communicating the competition [for positions is part of my job," Svensson concluded, "No player is on an island and judged merely by their own merits, but rather in relation to others."

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