WIf shaking his head was an Olympic sport, Bo Svensson would have qualified early for the games in Paris on Wednesday evening. The coach of FSV Mainz 05 could hardly get out of the right-left-right movement in the Bundesliga game at FC Schalke. Sometimes because of one or the other referee’s decision – in these cases Svensson’s gestures were much more pronounced – sometimes and much more often because of actions by his team that did not meet his requirements. And there were quite a few of them in the 1-0 defeat.
Svensson had only made one change in his starting line-up, Danny da Costa was allowed to play on the right wing instead of Silvan Widmer. However, despite the defeat, the Rheinhessen were unable to repeat their strong performance in the home game against VfL Wolfsburg.
Although their ball possession percentage before the break was 55 percent, they were unable to get more than half chances, deflected shots and a small series of corners. In one of those corners, Schalke’s Kenan Karaman prevented 05 striker Marcus Ingvartsen from going to the ball by pinning it to the ground with one hand on his shoulder – referee Tobias Reichel and Kölner Keller denied Mainz the requested penalty.
Schalke quickly in the switching game
Unlike the Schalke. When they won the ball with their venomous tackle in midfield, they always tried to play fast forwards, whether down the wings or through the middle – but preferably with Simon Terodde as the target player. And the Mainz defense failed to control the 34-year-old. Especially not in the tenth minute, when the powerful Alex Kral played a half-high pass into the lead and Terodde broke away from Alexander Hack, who kicked into space with a long leg. Edimilson Fernandes could not keep up and Terodde pushed the ball past goalkeeper Robin Zentner into the net.
Four minutes later, the center forward picked up a high ball with his chest, but this time Zentner won in a one-on-one, Hack rectified the situation. After Schalke’s third big chance – Kral narrowly missed the goal from a central position after a space-consuming one-two with Bülter – Hack was over. Svensson replaced him with Stefan Bell in the 32nd minute; it was initially not possible to find out whether an injury or just the performance was the cause.
“You’re always under pressure,” said S04 coach Thomas Reis before the game on “Sky” when asked whether the team felt a particular burden given their situation in the table and the results of their direct competitors the day before. But his professionals did not let this pressure be noticed.
They continued their style after the break, but kept Mainz in the game thanks to their handling of three other big chances – Bülter had already rounded Zentner on a counterattack from the center line in the 86th minute and then hit the post from five meters. But Mainz, whose most dangerous scenes came from substitute Burkardt, made nothing of this luck. After three defeats there is a hangover. In Gelsenkirchen, meanwhile, loud cheers erupted in the stadium after the final whistle; Fans and players gave free rein to their joy at the home win.
“In the end, shaking the win with the whole stadium is pure relief before the winter break to set an example here again,” Terodde said afterwards on Sky. “We definitely deserved that today.”