Final game of the season not a "dead rubber"
The Zerofivers are looking to end the season on a high with a win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Exactly six weeks after its original schedule had planned, the 2019/20 Bundesliga season is finally heading into the final matchday. 1. FSV Mainz 05 have one last tough task to complete when they host Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday (15:30 CEST). Leverkusen are still fighting for Champions League qualification. “We’re taking this game very seriously. It won’t be a dead-rubber, final day game,” Achim Beierlorzer said in his press conference on Thursday.
After the restart following the coronavirus-enforced break, the Zerofivers managed to secure Bundesliga football for the twelfth season in a row, due in large part to a recent run of good form. Mainz have taken eleven points in their last eight games, and, as it stands, are thirteenth in the table. The 40-point-mark could also be reached this weekend should they win, but that will require one last top performance.
Convinced of their conviction
The pressure is entirely on the ‘Werkself’, who no longer have total influence over their own chances to qualify for the Champions League. Leverkusen need to win and hope that Hertha BSC beat Borussia Mönchengladbach. That may mean that Peter Bosz’s side will look to attack as much as possible against Mainz. According to Beierlorzer, the task is then to blunt the opposition’s attacking ability, as they did in the win away in Dortmund. Mainz have to be compact and organised at the back, tactically disciplined and completely switched on. The Zerofivers will also have to beat Leverkusen’s aggressive counterpress and break with pace and accuracy, because Leverkusen often leave spaces at the back, which can be exploited.
“The game is so important for us. So we’ll approach matchday 34 of the Bundesliga in the same we approach all of our games,” said the Zerofivers’ boss. “We’ve had a whole week after the Bremen game to recover from a tiring two-game week. I’m convinced that all those, who are training, will be fresh enough for Saturday. We’ll make sure that we play with the best possible eleven, and squad, against Leverkusen, and finish the season on a high.”