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Mainz’s season in the Bundesliga has been one of many lows. Perilously close to the relegation play-off position, it is hardly the best position to be in with eight games left. If it was not for their Swedish star, the damage could be more.
Robin Quaison is Mainz’s top goalscorer this season with 12 goals in all competitions. His relief at returning to action is evident. “This is what we live for,” he exclaims.
What is noticeable is that Quaison is desperate to resolve some of the lingering doubts of Mainz’s suitability for the Bundesliga. However, he is not overly optimistic about the second part of Mainz’s Bundesliga campaign. “We haven’t changed anything,” he reveals before continuing that we “won’t see any big differences in the way we play.”
Mainz averted disaster in their first game back since the break. They were 2-0 down away mid-table Koln, before coming back to draw the game. Quaison did not score, but his fellow forward Taiwo Awoniyi and midfielder, Pierre Kunde, were able to convert to hand Mainz a priceless point.
They were Mainz’s first points on the board since the enforced break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Quaison struggled to adapt, like the majority of football players. The first three weeks were the most difficult. “We could not have contact; we could not have games. It was very hard mentally.” There is a sense of relief that football has returned to Germany. Despite his apparent concerns to the health and wellbeing to everyone involved, Quaison makes the point that he is delighted that the league is underway again.
Quaison’s aim for the rest of the season is simple. He wants to “pick up where he left off.’’ Mainz will need him for sure. For now, though, Quaison is thankful for just playing the game. “To be away for eight weeks, it is the first time it has happened for me and for a lot of players, and I think this makes us appreciate our job.’’
Quaison has found time to work out on why he has played so well this season. “Analysing myself and trying to get into positions,” he reveals candidly. Despite the strong showing this campaign, Quaison does not want to rest on his laurels. He demands improvement. He wants to score more goals.
It will start this Sunday again, in what is a massive test for Mainz. Die Nullfunfer welcome high-flying Red Bull Leipzig to the Opel Arena. Mainz have much to prove in this fixture following their capitulation in their last league meeting. Mainz were thrashed 8-0 at the Red Bull Arena, and the defeat still holds painful memories for Quaison. “It hurts us still because it was a very good game from them and a horrible game from us.”
Mainz’s away form up that point was a concern. After that defeat to Leipzig, Mainz had conceded 21 goals in their opening six away matches. They were hardly performances that were going to keep them in the Bundesliga.
Questions were asked, and now with Leipzig the visitors this Sunday, Quaison has a plan of redemption. “We need to take revenge on them,” he demands. It is perhaps more hope than expectation, but the sentiment rings true. Quaison truly believes his Mainz side can do it. “The team spirit is getting better every day,” he says, and perhaps now there is a new perspective for Quaison and Mainz with a potential relegation battle looming. Mainz will go into the game as massive underdogs, but Quaison, the super Swede, will have plenty to say about that come kick-off.
Watch the Bundesliga clash between Mainz and Leipzig Live on beIN SPORTS with Angus Scott and our live studio panel on Sunday 24 May. Coverage of all of Sunday’s games starts at 1400 Mecca/1100 GMT on HD 11. Go to www.bein.net for more news, details, and updates for all your favourite live sports.