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8.09.2017Bundesliga

'Focused and wide-awake' against Mainz

"Football is not decided by style points," said head coach Heiko Herrlich at the start of Friday afternoons pre-match press conference ahead of the away game at Mainz: Following two impressive performances by his team in the opening two matches of the season, which only produced one point, the Werkself will be looking to register the first win of the campaign at the Opel Arena on Saturday (15.30 CET).
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The head coach is expecting a physical game against a tough opponent with Mainz 05 without a point or a goal to date. "Mainz will definitely want to win at home for the first time and will try everything. I expect they will be very aggressive and passionate." The disappointing start to the season with two defeats against newly promoted Hanover and Stuttgart make Mainz 05 dangerous. "I know our team like Mainz, who haven't really got going yet, can approach a game like this and what is then possible," warned Herrlich and added in respect of his own team: "It's important my team knows how to handle it and they go into the game focused and wide-awake."

Baumgartlinger and Retsos miss Mainz match

 The maxim of Bayer 04 ahead of the second away game of the season is to take the opposition on and pick up the points. Or, as the Werkself coach put it: "It has to be a top performance with the appropriate result." In achieving this target Herrlich can rely on the support of some 1,250 Bayer 04 supporters who will follow the team to Mainz. Joel Pohjanpalo has recovered from his muscle injury quicker than expected and is another option for the Werkself attack. Captain Lars Bender may also be in for a return. "We're happy he's stayed fit and healthy and has been able to complete all the training sessions. If we take him with us to Mainz then we'll all be happy," said Heiko Herrlich of his midfielder who last lined up for the Werkself in March.

The final decision about the availability of Pohjanpalo and Bender will, as usual, be made after the final pre-match training session on Friday afternoon. Definitely ruled out is Julian Baumgartlinger who is sidelined with an infection that prevents him facing his former team-mates at Mainz. And new signing Panos Retsos, in Leverkusen since Tuesday, is unavailable due to a knee injury picked up playing for Greece. He is expected to return to full training at the start of next week. Herrlich is still without long-term injury Tin Jedvaj as well as striker Lukas Alario. The fact his previous club River Plate have refused to release the players licence does not worry the Bayer 04 coach. "I'm sure they'll be a solution soon," said Herrlich who chose to look forward: "At the moment I'm only concerned with the next game. We definitely want to win against Mainz."

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