The raised fists, angry faces and open mouths in the G-block of the Mainz arena didn’t bode well: players and coaches of FSV Mainz 05 only dared to go to the few fans in their own arena at 5:25 p.m. the weak performance still showed their displeasure. Many of the officially 3,403 home fans seemed to have run out of patience after a 1: 4 (1: 1) against VfB Stuttgart. When a questionable player strike out of solidarity with the professional Adam Szalai, who was deported to the U23, is followed by such a poor performance, all protagonists run out of arguments.
Achim Beierlorzer also felt this when the Mainz coach said at the digital press conference, noticeably disillusioned: “We have to face that we are facing headwinds after such a week and such a game. Everyone at the club knows that.” But it could soon be met by more than a stiff breeze. The home bankruptcy, almost defenselessly accepted in the end, accompanied by angry whistles, puts the native Franconia in a big mess. Sports director Rouven Schröder no longer made a commitment to the coach that he would sit on the bench in the away game at Union Berlin on Friday: “I cannot confirm. We will hold the talks open-ended. We will put everything on the table.” That already sounded suspiciously like an expulsion. To make matters worse, the relationship of trust between coach and team was already strained last season.
“There is always pressure. I know how the league works,” said Beierlorzer, 52, who looked very piqued on Saturday evening that he had the first questions about his future. He doesn’t think of retreating himself. “100 percent”, stressed Beierlorzer, that he is at Mainz 05. There is “a constructive relationship between the team and the coaching staff.” Afterwards, captain Danny Latza demonstratively emphasized solidarity (“We played as a team and stand behind the coach”), but the midfielder did not want to comment on the chaotic week: “We focused on football today, we have everything else to forget.” But why was the bottom line an achievement to be forgotten?
After his players refused a session on Wednesday, training on Thursday and Friday went well, Beierlorzer reported: “They were absolutely ready for Saturday. But the best way to answer is on the pitch.” Hardly anyone there reached their limits. The coach also located the missing percent in the incidents during the week: “Of course it has an impact. It hit everyone a little.”
Schröder, 44, who was there before the kick-off on, made it clear that the events with the unusual training strike will reverberate for a long time Sky-Mikrofon had said: “We were all touched by what happened this week. The overall situation in Mainz is worrying.” The sports board sees itself exposed to criticism from the committees because of its unsuccessful communication policy towards the team. The self-proclaimed carnival association created an atmosphere like on Ash Wednesday with its own efforts. Probably the October international break is nowhere called as in the Rheinhessen.
Mainz even takes the lead
The game even started well for the home side when the first clever attack led to the opening goal: After a clever header from Jean-Philippe Mateta, Robin Quaison nodded off quite effortlessly (13th). But by then the brave climber had already revealed the better play system. “We weren’t pressure-resistant and made a lot of mistakes in the passing game,” criticized Beierlorzer, who had to watch as colleague Pellegrino Matarazzo beat him at his own gun. After losing the ball from Mateta, veteran Gonzalo Castro grabbed the play equipment and operated Silas Wamangituka, who equalized with a precise low shot (45th). Beierlorzer stated contrite: “We slept when we switched over.”
Even if everything wasn’t going well with the guests, a flash of inspiration was enough against a largely unimaginative home team to finally turn the game in the second half: Daniel Didavi scored 2-1 after a nice combination (61st). The fact that Moussa Niakhaté said goodbye to the lawn early (77th) with a yellow and red card at an “inopportune time” (quote Beierlorzer), matched the zero five in the afternoon. Shortly afterwards, the substitute Mateo Klimowicz (80th) and the strong Austrian Sasa Kalajdzic (86th) made everything clear for the Stuttgart, who could easily cope with the late suspension of Pascal Stenzel (90th / yellow-red).
In Mainz, two strands of action have to be worked through in parallel in the autumn crisis: the football lessons from the false start, but also the causes of the players’ revolt. The club’s chairman, Stefan Hofmann, announced in a statement on Friday evening that the club’s management “could not just go back to the agenda”. It is interesting that the club boss made a connection with the disputes about the dismantling of a popular noble reservist and the repayment of the deferred salaries – and thus made a different interpretation of the events than Schröder at the press conference on Thursday. It was not difficult to infer from Hofmann’s statements that the manager, too, had lost a lot of authority after the antics of the past few days.
Doesn’t the strike have anything to do with money?
According to Hofmann, the team had built up a lot of emotionality, “which spontaneously discharged when Ádám Szalai was involved in training”. The suspension of the Hungarian international striker only broke the famous barrel. The players have only been informed in the past few days that the waiver of wages from the previous season cannot be refunded. “A repayment was considered as an option in the original agreement in March, should the economic situation for the club improve. However, the economic situation has tended to deteriorate,” explained the club’s president.
Why this fact was not convincingly explained to the professionals and, moreover, only explained so late, the sports management must be reproached. “Communication is a very big topic, otherwise it won’t happen,” admitted Schröder. Improving internal communication channels is at the top of the agenda at the niche location Mainz. It should come as no surprise if the club should also communicate personnel changes very quickly in this context.