Bell: "We can make life difficult for any opponent"

The next exciting TSG match is fast approaching – but what's the view in the opposition camp? Prior to Hoffenheim's visit to 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Saturday at 15:30 CET), we chatted to Stefan Bell. In an interview with, the central defender spoke about Mainz's start to the second half of the season, Saturday's match and Hoffenheim's strengths.

Stefan, the Bundesliga has recently had a weekend off. How much good did it do you to have a break to recharge your batteries?

"Coming so soon after the winter break, this break was more about focusing on other things for us – we weren't satisfied with our latest games. After the cup elimination in Bochum and the defeat in Fürth, we had a lot to work through. With that mind, there was less of a focus on regeneration."

You've started the new year with three competitive defeats and one victory. How do you assess your sporting start to 2022? 

"It's clear that it hasn't gone according to plan. We cannot be satisfied with performances like our recent ones; above all, we want to stop conceding as many goals as we have been. Compactness and good defensive work previously set us apart and we want to get back to that."

TSG will be the visitors to Mainz on Saturday. What kind of game are you expecting?

"Hoffenheim are not the kind of team to sit back. They will try to show their attacking strengths on the pitch. It'll be an exciting match – and definitely not a boring one. It never has been when Mainz 05 and TSG have gone head-to-head, anyway."

Hoffenheim have the fourth-best attack in the league. As a defender, what will you need to beware of most?

"We have one of the most solid defences in the league – in part because the team defends as a unit. If we press the opponent early and kept the space tight, then we can make life difficult for any opponent. Our objective is to find our way back to that."

The reverse fixture ended 2-0 to you. What are your memories of that game?

"Our defensive performance served as the foundation of our success that day too. After we took the lead, Hoffenheim really put us under pressure but we were able to fend off all their attacks and that's why the game had the better ending for us. Marcus Ingvartsen then applied the finishing touch, making it 2-0 a minute after coming on as a substitute."

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