A timely break

After six consecutive weeks with mid-week games, the 1-0 win at Mainz on Sunday was the final game before a break for international matches.

A comfortable 3-0 win over Augsburg followed by progression in the Europa League and then a 1-0 away victory in Mainz made it a good week for the Royal Blues. It’s a run of form which you might not normally want to interrupt with an interval such as the upcoming international break. However, “The break comes at the right time after an intense and straining last few weeks,” explained Christian Heidel. “It’s extremely important for us.”

Markus Weinzierl has a similar view after the recent heavy workload and complimented his team, saying, “The boys have given everything. The victory before the international break is extremely important. That pleased all of us and was a terrific end to the last six weeks.”

The players are also taking responsibility, “It shows we’ve got substance,” said Benedikt Höwedes. “We’ve had a lot of busy weeks with mid-week games, the last of which was strenuous.” After the success of the last few matches, many of the players can join up with their countries with clear heads. “The others have a few days off,” said the captain. “But everyone else will certainly take the time to re-energise."

Sead Kolasinac scored the winner in the OPEL ARENA in Mainz. The Bosnian stormed down the left-wing five minutes into the second-half, played a one-two with Guido Burgstaller and drilled the ball into the bottom corner. “Of course I’m pleased with the goal,” chuckled the left-back. “Well, not with the broken net, but with the fact I can shoot that hard.”

Ralf Fährmann also gave a strong performance in Mainz and kept a clean sheet like he did in the last Bundesliga game against Augsburg. “It was a classy team performance,” said the goalkeeper. “We knew that we had the win in Mönchengladbach in the bag. Despite that, we gave everything and, in the end, earned the three points.” On the current situation with the table, the 28-year-old spoke of a “paradoxical situation”. “A few weeks ago we were talking about a relegation battle and now we’re looking at the Europa League places again. We remained calm then and we’ll do the same again now.”