Mainz defender David Nemeth: A bargain as a lucky find

Lange, David Nemeth had to wait a long time for this moment. Around 13 months passed before the central defender made his first Bundesliga appearance after moving to FSV Mainz 05. That was the case on the previous day of the match. In the home game against Union Berlin, he replaced Jeremiah St. Juste, who was injured in the shoulder in the 20th minute. Nemeth was given preference over Moussa Niakhaté, who is also on the bench, because the captain was not fit enough for 70 minutes after an injury break, as coach Bo Svensson explained.

The long wait was certainly not one in which Nemeth pawed restlessly with his hooves on the Mainz Bruchweg. The Mainz team had already signed him in September 2020. For the then sports director Rouven Schröder, this transfer was a risk-free bargain, because the 19-year-old came free of charge from the insolvent Austrian first division club SV Mattersburg.

Then the Mainz team quickly gave it back and loaned it to Graz. “That was agreed from the start,” says Nemeth, “a year ago I wasn’t up to the level to play in the German Bundesliga.” He was supposed to get match practice at Sturm Graz, and there he hit it off, fought his way a regular place and played, among other things, 28 championship games.

Ready from the start

Who is surprised that those responsible for the storm would have liked to keep the 1.91 meter tall defender from Burgenland? A wish with which they did not penetrate in Mainz. Martin Schmidt, the Mainz sports director, described Nemeth as an “enrichment of our squad”, the player himself affirmed that he did not want to borrow any more, but rather to assert himself in Mainz.

He made a good impression in preparation for the season. In training and test matches, Nemeth conveyed the feeling that the coach could bring him carefree at any time. “David is a thoroughbred defender who has the necessary body for this position and has played a very good season in Graz,” says Svensson: “He’s a young player, so of course there are still things that he has to do better. But that is also our way to a certain extent. We want to give young players the chance to take the next step, we meet them, but they also have to be willing to meet us. “


Sports director Martin Schmidt sees Nemeth (right) as an “asset to our squad”.
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Bild: Picture-Alliance

Nemeth showed this willingness from the start, but he was in a waiting position; in the hierarchy of central defenders, he was fifth behind Niakhaté, St. Juste, Stefan Bell and Alexander Hack. At least one place ahead of Luca Kilian, who came from Paderborn in the summer of last year, but played no role under Svensson and has since been awarded to 1. FC Köln. It wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence in Nemeth that Svensson didn’t resort to him against Bayer Leverkusen. Although Niakhaté was injured and Hack was canceled due to corona quarantine.

Instead, the coach pulled Silvan Widmer from the right wing into the back three. “His greater speed made the difference,” he said, explaining the decision. Against Union Berlin he chose the same variant, only St. Justes early retirement promoted Nemeth to the field. After conceding the back line, it was before the first goal conceded Widmer, before the second Nemeth, who lost the duel with Taiwo Awoniyi.

Nonetheless, the Bundesliga debutant offered a promising performance. In duels, in building up the game, in forward defense. Last but not least, he initiated the 1-0 by stabbing forward resolutely, stopped a Berlin counter attempt in the opposing half and played the ball in the tip to Jonathan Burkardt; two stops later, Marcus Ingvartsen put Mainz in the lead. David Nemeth is currently on the road with the Austrian U-21 national team. From Thursday on, the 20-year-old will be working on Bruchweg again to earn more Bundesliga appearances.

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