Christian Heidel: Friendship on hold for 90 mins

Sunday’s game against 1. FSV Mainz 05 will not be business as usual for S04 sporting director Christian Heidel. “I would be lying if I said anything else. After all, I had a great time in Mainz,” said Heidel ahead of the upcoming encounter with his former employer, where he worked from 1992 until 2016 before joining the Royal Blues.

Heidel’s phone has been ringing more often than usual these past few days, which is evidence enough that a game against his former club is just around the corner. “Due to the tension around our Europa League encounter this week, I really didn’t have the time yet to prepare myself for the return to Mainz. But many friends and former colleagues have called me these past few days. I look forward to the game, although all friendships will be put on hold for the 90 minutes. I really want us to win the game. After the final whistle I will wish Mainz all the best for the rest of their season,” explained the sporting director. 

The 53-year-old expects a tough game. “After their defeat in Darmstadt, Mainz will be highly motivated. From experience I know that they play particularly well when they are put under pressure,” warned Heidel. “It will be anything but easy-going for us. We have to be 100 percent focussed going into the game.”

Heidel hopes that securing spot in the Europa League quarterfinals will give the team an additional boost. “I’m very proud of the team. During half-time we felt that the game wasn’t over yet,” revealed the sporting director. “Their second goal was tough for us, but we didn’t feel like we were two goals behind based on our performance.”