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Da Costa’s extra motivation against his youth team

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Ahead of the game against his former youth team Bayern Leverkusen on Sunday evening (19:30 CET), Danny da Costa is pleased that Mainz have pulled away from the bottom of the table a little bit after home victories against VfL Bochum and FC Augsburg. “I’m always the kind of person who is looking upwards. But I also know that it could have got tight very quickly if one or two games had gone differently,” said da Costa, who is looking forward to the upcoming days of carnival, even if he can’t enjoy them to their full extent.

All in all, a good start

After successful results against direct rivals in the table, da Costa said that things “looked good” below them at the moment, and would prefer to look to the higher end of the league table. The defender said that the team have to approach their upcoming games “just as focused and intensively as last time against Augsburg” in order to do so. Da Costa said it was important to have opened up a gap at the bottom, and that the gap to seventh place isn’t too large. “It would be nice, of course, if we could be there or thereabouts again.”

So far decent, but room for improvement

Da Costa played the whole game against FCA as the Zerofivers picked up three important points at the MEWA ARENA. It was his second full game this season, and the full back is not dissatisfied despite his return to the club not being as smooth as planned. “It was a difficult start, I was hoping to stay injury-free.”

But after a pre-season hampered by injury, he was made to wait until matchday 7 for his first appearance of the campaign. “I played once and came off the bench once, because I had a bit of bad luck with illness,” said the 29-year-old. “All in all, I would say that its been a good start to my second spell here. Performance-wise, things are improving and I think the games I’ve been able to play in have been good in helping me to find my rhythm. So I’d say it’s been decent so far, but there’s room for improvement.”

Looking forward Leverkusen return

Bo Svensson allowed his side some free time from Sunday through to Tuesday, with preparations for Leverkusen beginning on Wednesday. “Days off always do you good,” said da Costa, who spent the time with his family. From today, Wednesday his full focus is back on football and the game against the Werkself; a fixture that will always be a special one for da Costa. “When you spent your whole youth career there and know a lot of people at the club who are still there now, it’s always nice to come back to your old stomping ground,” said full back, who made 13 competitive appearances for Leverkusen.

These games will remain special throughout my career.

Almost six years after his second departure from Leverkusen in 2017, after returning from Ingolstadt in 2016, da Costa won’t be coming up against many former teammates this weekend. However, in sporting director Simon Rolfes and first team manager Stefan Kießling, two of his former teammates are now involved in roles off the pitch at the club, da Costa still recounts “many familiar faces” within the club, including doctors and physiotherapists. He is always a little bit more motivated in these games, “because you want to show how you’ve developed away from Leverkusen.”

As one against “outstanding individuals”

When asked if the two sides are on a similar level, da Costa answered with both yes and no. Even though Leverkusen are currently just one point ahead of Mainz in twelfth place, the two clubs have very different expectations. “One team had ambitions of reaching the Champions League ahead of the season. Our first priority will always be avoiding relegation,” said da Costa, explaining why it’s difficult to measure whether the game will be considered an even fixture.

The full back describes Leverkusen’s players as “outstanding,” adding that Mainz need to defend against them collectively, and in doing so could make it a difficult day for Leverkusen. “First and foremost, we have to take away their strengths, which are their build-up play and their pace. If we do that, I think we can do better than we did in the reverse fixture.”

Da Costa was referring to the last time the two sides met, when Mainz, despite not palying overly poorly, found themselves 3-0 down at half time against a Leverkusen side who were yet to pick up a point in the league. “The sad part was that we basically scored the Leverkusen goals ourselves,” said da Costa, who missed the game through injury. “It wasn’t that we were overly outplayed and didn’t have a chance.”

Reducing the threat of Leverkusen’s speedsters

What caused problems for FSV was the high speed and dynamism of Leverkusen’s attackers. After Exequiel Palacios scored a lucky opener, Moussa Diaby broke free and found Jeremie Frimpong in space before Frimpong himself broke through the defence and it went from 1-0 to 3-0 in the space of two minutes. However, da Costa was not too worries about leverkusen’s pace; after all, he said, it was nothing out of the ordinary for a full back to have to defend a fast winger.

You have to be aggressive and stay close to your man to avoid a foot race.

The defender is aware of the threat posed by the Leverkusen forwards would adapt his game to combat it if necessary. “If you let them get to full speed, it will be very difficult, even if you’re not a slow player yourself. That’s where you have to be aggressive and stay close to your man to avoid being forced into a foot race.”

Carnival takes a back seat for the time being

While the focus for the Zerofivers is solely on Leverkusen, others may have different things on the mind. Having grown up in Cologne, da Costa says carnival was “an integral part” of his school days, even taking part in the parades as a schoolchild.

Nowadays, the 29-year-old still enjoys celebrating and is looking forward to his fifth in Mainz, having had a taste most recently in the last game against FC Augsburg. “I’m excited to see what will be in store for us,” said da Costa on the upcoming Monday.

Until then, he said, they are fully focused on the away game at the BayArena on Sunday evening. “When it gets going on Thursday, I honestly won’t really be aware of it.” Da Costa and his teammates will instead get into carnival spirit for the first time on Monday, a day after hopefully a successful result on the road in Leverkusen.

Ahead of the game against his former youth team Bayern Leverkusen on Sunday evening (19:30 CET), Danny da Costa is pleased that Mainz have pulled away from the bottom of the table a little bit after home victories against VfL Bochum and FC Augsburg. “I’m always the kind of person who is looking upwards. But I also know that it could have got tight very quickly if one or two games had gone differently,” said da Costa, who is looking forward to the upcoming days of carnival, even if he can’t enjoy them to their full extent.

All in all, a good start

After successful results against direct rivals in the table, da Costa said that things “looked good” below them at the moment, and would prefer to look to the higher end of the league table. The defender said that the team have to approach their upcoming games “just as focused and intensively as last time against Augsburg” in order to do so. Da Costa said it was important to have opened up a gap at the bottom, and that the gap to seventh place isn’t too large. “It would be nice, of course, if we could be there or thereabouts again.”

So far decent, but room for improvement

Da Costa played the whole game against FCA as the Zerofivers picked up three important points at the MEWA ARENA. It was his second full game this season, and the full back is not dissatisfied despite his return to the club not being as smooth as planned. “It was a difficult start, I was hoping to stay injury-free.”

But after a pre-season hampered by injury, he was made to wait until matchday 7 for his first appearance of the campaign. “I played once and came off the bench once, because I had a bit of bad luck with illness,” said the 29-year-old. “All in all, I would say that its been a good start to my second spell here. Performance-wise, things are improving and I think the games I’ve been able to play in have been good in helping me to find my rhythm. So I’d say it’s been decent so far, but there’s room for improvement.”

Looking forward Leverkusen return

Bo Svensson allowed his side some free time from Sunday through to Tuesday, with preparations for Leverkusen beginning on Wednesday. “Days off always do you good,” said da Costa, who spent the time with his family. From today, Wednesday his full focus is back on football and the game against the Werkself; a fixture that will always be a special one for da Costa. “When you spent your whole youth career there and know a lot of people at the club who are still there now, it’s always nice to come back to your old stomping ground,” said full back, who made 13 competitive appearances for Leverkusen.

These games will remain special throughout my career.

Almost six years after his second departure from Leverkusen in 2017, after returning from Ingolstadt in 2016, da Costa won’t be coming up against many former teammates this weekend. However, in sporting director Simon Rolfes and first team manager Stefan Kießling, two of his former teammates are now involved in roles off the pitch at the club, da Costa still recounts “many familiar faces” within the club, including doctors and physiotherapists. He is always a little bit more motivated in these games, “because you want to show how you’ve developed away from Leverkusen.”

As one against “outstanding individuals”

When asked if the two sides are on a similar level, da Costa answered with both yes and no. Even though Leverkusen are currently just one point ahead of Mainz in twelfth place, the two clubs have very different expectations. “One team had ambitions of reaching the Champions League ahead of the season. Our first priority will always be avoiding relegation,” said da Costa, explaining why it’s difficult to measure whether the game will be considered an even fixture.

The full back describes Leverkusen’s players as “outstanding,” adding that Mainz need to defend against them collectively, and in doing so could make it a difficult day for Leverkusen. “First and foremost, we have to take away their strengths, which are their build-up play and their pace. If we do that, I think we can do better than we did in the reverse fixture.”

Da Costa was referring to the last time the two sides met, when Mainz, despite not palying overly poorly, found themselves 3-0 down at half time against a Leverkusen side who were yet to pick up a point in the league. “The sad part was that we basically scored the Leverkusen goals ourselves,” said da Costa, who missed the game through injury. “It wasn’t that we were overly outplayed and didn’t have a chance.”

Reducing the threat of Leverkusen’s speedsters

What caused problems for FSV was the high speed and dynamism of Leverkusen’s attackers. After Exequiel Palacios scored a lucky opener, Moussa Diaby broke free and found Jeremie Frimpong in space before Frimpong himself broke through the defence and it went from 1-0 to 3-0 in the space of two minutes. However, da Costa was not too worries about leverkusen’s pace; after all, he said, it was nothing out of the ordinary for a full back to have to defend a fast winger.

You have to be aggressive and stay close to your man to avoid a foot race.

The defender is aware of the threat posed by the Leverkusen forwards would adapt his game to combat it if necessary. “If you let them get to full speed, it will be very difficult, even if you’re not a slow player yourself. That’s where you have to be aggressive and stay close to your man to avoid being forced into a foot race.”

Carnival takes a back seat for the time being

While the focus for the Zerofivers is solely on Leverkusen, others may have different things on the mind. Having grown up in Cologne, da Costa says carnival was “an integral part” of his school days, even taking part in the parades as a schoolchild.

Nowadays, the 29-year-old still enjoys celebrating and is looking forward to his fifth in Mainz, having had a taste most recently in the last game against FC Augsburg. “I’m excited to see what will be in store for us,” said da Costa on the upcoming Monday.

Until then, he said, they are fully focused on the away game at the BayArena on Sunday evening. “When it gets going on Thursday, I honestly won’t really be aware of it.” Da Costa and his teammates will instead get into carnival spirit for the first time on Monday, a day after hopefully a successful result on the road in Leverkusen.

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Da Costa’s extra motivation against his youth team

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