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Svensson’s thoughtful self-image: As a ‘sometimes borderline’ psychologist

Two years ago, Bo Svensson made his debut as Mainz coach – the start of a new era for the 05ers. In the kicker’s interview, the Dane gives an in-depth insight into this development.

In the anniversary interview, Mainz coach Bo Svensson gives insight into his way of thinking and working.

IMAGO/Sven Simon

Exactly two years ago on Monday, Bo Svensson played his first Bundesliga game as Mainz 05 head coach. The home game against Eintracht Frankfurt on January 9, 2021 was lost 2-0 – but c t was the start of a new era for the Rheinhessen. .

Svensson managed to stay in the league after being bottom of the table back then, and since then he has restored the 05ers to the league’s secure midfield. Now he gives an in-depth insight into this development as well as his way of thinking and working.

Already 3rd behind Streich and Fischer

According to the 43- year old. Although he “doesn’t usually think it’s that long. Fortunately, it’s varied work.”

“Isolating the Bundesliga team doesn’t work.”

In which the routine that sets in has positive effects: “At the beginning, I had the feeling that it was better to do everything myself”, explains Svensson. “But over time it became clear to me: if I continue like this, I won’t be able to do the job for as long. I let go a bit and I think it’s necessary for us to develop further. ”

Svensson played professionally at Mainz from 2007 to 2014, then worked as a junior coach until 2019. What impacted his job as head coach: “I lived here in Mainz for a long time, I I have a special connection with the club and the people. That meant an extra responsibility for me.” However, the “biggest attraction” was, “I had a clear idea of ​​how we were going to do it, and I really wanted to prove it was the right idea.”

The coach was also keen to influence the structures immediately surrounding the professional team. His credo: “The Bundesliga team is part of the club. It doesn’t work to look at it in isolation. If you say, for example: the chain of five men is the key, everything around it has no effect. importance – then you might rack up a few more points, but if the construction behind it doesn’t fit together, you’re going to run into the same issues again at some point.

“I don’t just want to sit in my chair to make money.”

Martin Schmidt and Christian Heidel (right)

Keeping a close eye on the situation in Mainz: Martin Schmidt and Christian Heidel (right).
IMAGO/Baumann press photo

Working with old acquaintances Christian Heidel and Martin Schmidt, who returned as board members and sporting director almost at the same time as Svensson, was “an opportunity to bring my ideas to the table. The fact that we we already knew the three of us was of course a plus, we were able to speak openly and honestly right away without anyone feeling offended.

Signs of wear so far haven’t been the slightest, says Svensson. Even though he still gave up his previous coaching jobs as Mainz U17 and U19 coach or FC Liefering after two years on his own.

“That’s when I realized: I need a new stimulus to become better as a coach. And to be able to bring something back again. This is extremely important for me. I don’t just want sit on my chair to earn money.”

The end in Mainz “will come at some point”, but is not yet foreseeable, and an extension beyond 2024 at the right time cannot be ruled out. Even if Svensson never wants to think that far: “I only need the here and now, focus on work, no career plan.”

His vision for Mainz 05 is not about European rankings or competitions, but: “The reliability of our game is important to me. And a clear goal is also to be able to interest more spectators in our football and our club. You should I don’t just come to the stadium to see us win, but also to experience our football and this community that I think makes our club what it is.”

Integration of a sports psychologist in 05 “certainly a consideration”

Apart from the direct perspective on Mainz 05, Svensson also gives in-depth personal information. For example why he led training sessions for young people in a township near Cape Town during his winter vacation in South Africa. Why money is for him only a means to an end and would not be sufficient as the only motivation for a job. Why he ‘would like to leave something behind’ at Mainz 05 and what he thinks of the comparisons with his former coaches Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.

And why he himself has been working with a mental coach for some time: “It’s important for me, because this feedback from professionals is different from that of my wife or my friends. At the same time, it’s also an experience important to me because it was always “The coach is the most important psychologist for a team. We coaches in this field are only amateurs compared to trained professionals in this field.”

In this context, he himself “felt that I sometimes reached my limit in working with the players”. Integrating a sports psychologist in Mainz 05 in the future is therefore “certainly to be considered”.

You can read the full interview with Bo Svensson in the print edition of kicker on Monday or in the eMagazine on Sunday evening.

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