Sunday 15th August 2021
Kick-off shock for favorites
Mainz Corona-Not-Elf fights RB down
The Bundesliga team is shocked by several corona cases immediately before the start of the season, and numerous regular employees are absent. The game against RB Leipzig can not be postponed, against the Champions League starter it has to judge a plucked team. And it works.
The big football party began immediately on the pitch and the final whistle: While the pros of title contender RB Leipzig trotted off the pitch in a disgruntled manner and served, the scenes at the Mainz team on the first Bundesliga matchday already resembled a wild celebration as if they had been able to stay up. There was always a reason for this, after all, Notelf, battered by ten quarantine failures, almost sensationally beat the runner-up 1-0 (1-0). Head coach Bo Svensson stormed towards his heroes with arms outstretched. “It’s football again, it’s Mainz again, that’s wonderful!” Said the euphoric sports director Martin Schmidt after the coup with a lot of morality. “We were a very happy winner today. Everyone has surpassed themselves again, a huge story.”
When the 05 professionals started singing the “Humba” chants in the middle of the block, the impression of a completely wrong football world in the midst of 10,500 spectators was perfect. “It was just awesome! In the end, what counts is what everyone has shown on the pitch. That was outstanding,” said the strong goalkeeper Robin Zentner on a summer day that was perfect for Mainz.
“I’m very proud of the group”
The big losers were the Leipzig team under coach Jesse Marsch, whose Bundesliga debut failed. “It’s early in the process for our group. It wasn’t our best day,” said the American, who continued the breakdown Sunday in the press conference when the microphone failed at the beginning of his statement. The star ensemble around 28-goal man André Silva and the captain Marcel Sabitzer, surrounded by rumors of change, not only have to fear a false start in the league, but also an departure from Sabitzer himself. The Austrian sat on the bench for over an hour during the bankruptcy, it also acted like a signal before the two remaining weeks of transfer.
The winning goal by Moussa Niakhaté (13th minute) made the fans in the Mainz stadium freak out for the first time, later every ball win and every parade of the outstanding hundredweight was celebrated. “I am very proud of the group,” said head coach Svensson. When the whole team had already been celebrated in the corner, it had echoed loudly: “We want to see the coach, we want to see the coach.”
“We have to work more”
The seriously disappointed Leipzigers, who, unlike rivals Borussia Dortmund (5: 2), failed, had long since disappeared. While the Mainz team sent a real core team onto the pitch without ten professionals in isolation and only switched their few reservists very late, Marsch had a top team with numerous alternatives that fell well short of expectations and deserved the duel “fit master candidate against plucked relegation candidates” lost.
“That was a good memory for us, yes: we have to work more,” said Marsch, who is taking on a very difficult legacy as the successor to Julian Nagelsmann. The Sabitzer question should now also be exciting. The leading figure from Austria is permanently associated with record champions FC Bayern, a change is becoming more and more apparent in view of the contract situation until summer 2022. It is “difficult to keep a player if he doesn’t want to stay,” Marsch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Saturday). In Munich, Sabitzer could play a central role as the first challenger to the two stars Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.
Before the game, the direction of the game was controversial, in the run-up to which the Mainz team was massively affected by their corona situation with four positive cases (including three players). The Mainz sports director Christian Heidel said at DAZN: “It is certainly not a fair sporting competition – distortion of competition sounds almost criminal, I wouldn’t put that into my mouth that way. But I think that has nothing to do with fair sport . ” Using the example of Mainz, this discussion is likely to lose momentum after the coup, but it will certainly not disappear completely before the next Corona autumn.