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Mainz 05 and the special quality of Jonathan Burkhardt in the Bundesliga

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Mainz 05 and the special quality of Jonathan Burkhardt in the Bundesliga

It had been two years since Martin Schmidt had an opportunity to pronounce Jonathan Burkardt’s stage name: “Jonny Doppelpack”. At that time, the young striker from FSV Mainz 05 scored two goals in one game for the third time in a season and led the team to victory: in the cup games at SV Elversberg and against Arminia Bielefeld as well as against Ostwestfalen in the league.

On Saturday it was that time again: Burkardt scored both goals in the 2-0 win against VfL Bochum, Mainz’s third win this season, the second under coach Bo Henriksen and the first in which he himself played a part. “A lot of things fell away from me,” commented Burkardt on this experience, “I’m overjoyed.” He didn’t want to overestimate his goals from a penalty kick in stoppage time in the first half and after a header assist from Jae-sung Lee in the 71st minute In the last scene before he was substituted, the ball fell at his feet.

But breaking away from his guard Erhan Masovic with three quick steps and being at the right point where the ball arrived at the right time to put it into the net was very much an achievement of his own. And converting a penalty was something none of his colleagues had managed to do this season. The Mainz team failed from the spot four times in a row, Ludovic Ajorque failed miserably twice on the first matchday in Berlin, later Aymen Barkok in Hoffenheim, and most recently Nadiem Amiri at the inside post in Augsburg.

The winter signing announced afterwards that he would also take the next penalty, and his name against VfL was actually on the list of possible shooters that the coaches had prepared. But also Burkardt’s. “I felt good and asked Nadiem if he was okay with me shooting,” said the striker. “He immediately said: ‘Shoot the ball in’.”

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Three hours until the shot

However, he had to be patient with the execution. Not only that the whistle against Bochum full-back Bernardo after his duel with Jae-sung Lee was controversial and led to protests from the VfL players. On top of that, the Bochum bank raged, led by managing director Marc Lettau, half a dozen angry people harassed the assistant referee Sven Waschitzki-Günther – and his boss, Matthias Jöllenbeck, preferred to show Lettau the yellow card and only then ask Burkardt to execute it. “It felt like it took three hours before I was allowed to shoot,” said the 23-year-old.

However, he didn’t allow himself to be disturbed. He shot flat, hard and precisely. At the end of a first half that was anything but pretty to look at, a wild, unstructured back and forth in which the ball was more in the air than on the ground, he gave Mainz a 1-0 lead. “The penalty opened the door for us,” said central defender Andreas Hanche-Olsen, who intercepted most of Bochum’s long shots before the break.

Celebrations only double: Burkhardt scores to make it 1-0, and later to make it 2-0. : Image: dpa

After the break, Mainz survived a good ten-minute period of pressure thanks to their stable back line before they began to dominate the action. “The burden that we carried with us due to our situation and the 8-1 defeat in Munich has gradually been lifted from us,” said sports director Schmidt. “And then we started getting into the interface more and more often with flat balls, just like the coach said during the break.”

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“Performance is more important”

In fact, the 05ers could have won much more, but the conversion of chances remained just as secondary as the quality on offer throughout the half. “It wasn’t the best game I’ve seen in my life,” admitted Henriksen with a grin, “but at the moment the performance is more important. I’m proud of my players because they did what they were supposed to and what they were able to do.” During the week they talked a lot about the right reaction to the defeat in Munich – “today we showed it.”

Published/Updated: Recommendations: 1 Peter H. Eisenhuth, Mainz Published/Updated: Peter Heß Published/Updated: Recommendations: 3

The Rheinhessen thus pushed 1. FC Köln out of the relegation place again and moved within six points of VfL Bochum and VfL Wolfsburg. It cannot be ruled out that unimagined perspectives will open up in the next few weeks.

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