Match Preview: Mainz vs. Borussia Dortmund
This will forever go down as the week Peter Bosz was sacked by Borussia Dortmund. The Dutchman came with the best intentions and tried to play expansive football. However, his team’s defensive displays left a lot to be desired and we are now on a winless run which has seen us drop from the summit of the Bundesliga all the way down to 7th place. It is always a shame to say goodbye to a manager but a new era dawns. Tonight marks the debut game for Peter Stoger in the dugout and the ex-Cologne boss has prove himself after being sacked himself by his former employers last week.
The Austrian has only been given a contract until the end of the season but that isn’t to say he won’t stay beyond that. After all, while he left Cologne without a domestic win this season he is the same manager who led them out of the 2.Bundesliga and into Europe. “It doesn’t need to be any more! I would have come for just a couple of weeks. He spoke of a “surprising situation” when he received the call late on Saturday evening from Borussia Dortmund, “but also an extraordinary opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to serving as manager of the team in this stadium. It is something special. I’ll approach the whole thing with much pleasure and plenty of emotion. You only get such a chance once in a lifetime.”
With limited time to prepare his side for tonight’s game in Mainz, Stoger must get to work right away. “During this time it will be important to speak with the boys to find out what the problems are. No one expects the team to be the finished article by Tuesday”, said Stöger, who spoke of wanting to “put back together the small pieces of mosaic”. The “mosaic” will have to be comprised of some much needed tiles in this game. Maxi Phillipp, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Sebastien Rode and Erik Durm remain on the long term missing list. But there is good news for Stoger – Christian Pulisic is in contention to return from a minor injury and is likely to start.
In Mainz, Sandro Scwarz and his boys aren’t faring much better this season. They currently sit 14th in the Bundesliga, just 4 points off Freiburg who languish in the relegation play-off place. They have won only one of their last five games and needed a late equaliser from Emil Berggreen to secure a point in Leipzig at the weekend. Schwarz was very pleased with his side’s performance on Sunday. “Emotions were running high in today’s game. We started well and had early chances to take the lead through Robin Quaison. Then we started playing out from the back and did so really well at times. We made a lot of good runs going forward without giving them many chances at our end.” He went on, “we’re very pleased with this point.” It could prove to be valuable in the long run for the zerofivers.
Schwarz will be without his first choice ‘keeper, Rene Adler, for this game who misses out with a thigh injury. Robin Zentner is likely to continue to deputise for him, as he has done since the ex-Leverkusen stopper picked up the injury. Levan Oztunali and Kenan Kodro are out long term, while Karim Onisiwo is still plagued with a shoulder injury. Pablo De Blassis will probably feature though after signing a new contract recently. Robin Quaison also found himself on the scoresheet at the weekend and will likely retain his place in midfield here.
Peter Stoger has to hit the ground running here. Although he has only had two days worth of preparation with his new side for this game, he has to show some progression with them quickly. The fact that tonight’s opponents have claimed six more points than Dortmund in the last eight games is far from acceptable. Peter Bosz is gone and it’s time for the new man to show why he was chosen to replace him in the hotseat. The task in front of Peter Stoger is not a massive one but one that is tricky. It starts tonight, with a positive result in Mainz.