Mainz 05 are missing defenders: “We have a bottleneck at the back”

MAlexander Hack does not have to serve more than a game suspension after the red card he received in Leipzig a week ago. And yet his handball could still have a serious impact this Saturday. According to the last status announced by FSV Mainz 05, coach Bo Svensson has only two real central defenders available for the Bundesliga game against VfL Bochum (3.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky): veteran Stefan Bell and the youngster David Nemeth. Because in addition to the long-term injured Jeremiah St. Juste, whose comeback the coach has declared premature, and Niklas Tauer, who is suffering from muscular problems, Moussa Niakhaté is also in danger of failing again.

The Frenchman has been in quarantine since Tuesday last week after a positive corona finding. He should appear on Saturday if he has tested himself in time. Should the captain’s hope not be fulfilled, either right-back Silvan Widmer could be considered as a third man for a back three; a role he has taken on a number of times. Or Svensson switches to a back four. “We have a bottleneck at the back and are constantly thinking about what fits best,” he says.

05er want revenge for the first leg

The 05 coach has bad memories of the first half of the season. “It certainly wasn’t our best game,” he comments on the 2-0 defeat that his team suffered with a very passive approach. “Bochum also did well in an almost full stadium with a remarkable atmosphere.” And with two former Mainzers as goal scorers: Gerrit Holtmann, whose pace can be dangerous for the Rheinhessen this time, and Sebastian Polter.

At least Svensson does not have to fear the fans factor in the second meeting. The game will not be played as a ghost game, but 1000 spectators are allowed according to the country’s modified corona regulations – but no supporters of the Bochum team, but only 05 season ticket holders residing in Mainz, Rheinhessen and Wiesbaden. The group on the back straight may seem a bit lost: “We’re glad that there’s a mood at all.”

Of course, this alone will not be enough to put the promoted team in their place, who, as eleventh in the table with 23 points, is only one place and one point behind the 05ers. “Bochum has a good line-up, but it’s not so easy for a climber to present themselves like that. It’s impressive what Thomas Reis can do with his team,” says Svensson. “If we don’t reach our limit, it will be difficult.”

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