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“I give everything until I can’t give any more”

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With four goals in his last four Bundesliga appearances, including a brace in the 3-1 win over Augsburg, Jae-Sung Lee is a man bang in form. His tenacious attitude, never-say-die spirit and work ethic make him a perfect fit for Mainz both on and off the pitch. “I am very happy to be here,” emphasised the 30-year-old on Thursday.

Head coach Bo Svensson is fully aware of the important role that the South Korean plays and he knows exactly what he can expect from the midfielder. While his six goals this season have been a bonus, Lee’s significance goes much further than his goal contributions and he almost perfectly personifies the way the Zerofivers play. “Jae-Sung fits Mainz 05 brilliantly, with the way he plays, never giving up and always working extremely hard,” explained Svensson after the Augsburg game. “That’s one of the things that makes him stand out. He goes the extra mile and sniffs out situations where not everyone thinks anything can happen from.”

A lot learned during his time at Mainz

Lee buys into the system and makes the important runs both with and without the ball that are needed under Bo Svensson’s style of play. From the very moment the first whistle blows, the South Korean is prepared to give it everything and this has paid off on a number of occasions since the turn of the year. The 30-year-old scored in the opening two minutes against both Dortmund and Bochum and also scored inside the opening 25 minutes against Augsburg. “Bo always emphasizes that we need to give it everything from the first second. My role is to defend, attack, make runs, score goals and pick up assists.”

Lee is currently in the midst of his most prolific season in the Bundesliga and his second most ever in German football. His most prolific season was during the 2019/20 campaign when he scored nine goals for Holstein Kiel in the 2. Bundesliga. Lee made the move to Mainz in the summer of 2021 and he found it difficult to adapt initially: “It was tough right at the very beginning. I came from the second tier and it was a challenge both mentally and physically. I learned a lot and I am grateful to Bo.”

I hope that I give it everything right until the final whistle, just like I do in the first minute.

Despite his strong performances, Lee always believes there is room for improvement. Due to his important role at both ends of the pitch, the South Korean often tires himself out and he hasn’t been able to play for a full 90 minutes so far in 2023. He even had to leave the field against Augsburg with cramps. “I hope that I give it everything right until the final whistle, just like I do in the first minute. Our squad has a lot of quality. I give it everything until I can’t give any more.”

This never-say-die attitude is not only a hit with his teammates, but also with the fans. Equipped with his flowery hat, sunglasses and microphone, Lee led the celebrations after the Carnival home game against FCA. The number 7 also mentioned that the supporters are a “huge motivation” and he is often cheered on by a number of South Koreans who make the trip to Mainz to see their hero in action. “I get a lot of support from my compatriots and you often see South Korean flags in the stadium. This makes me really happy,” explained Lee, who also played an important role for his country at the World Cup.

Bo Svensson is fully aware of the importance of “JSL7”.

Lee will have the chance to strut his stuff once again at the weekend as the Zerofivers travel to Leverkusen (Sunday, 19th February, 19:30 CET).

With four goals in his last four Bundesliga appearances, including a brace in the 3-1 win over Augsburg, Jae-Sung Lee is a man bang in form. His tenacious attitude, never-say-die spirit and work ethic make him a perfect fit for Mainz both on and off the pitch. “I am very happy to be here,” emphasised the 30-year-old on Thursday.

Head coach Bo Svensson is fully aware of the important role that the South Korean plays and he knows exactly what he can expect from the midfielder. While his six goals this season have been a bonus, Lee’s significance goes much further than his goal contributions and he almost perfectly personifies the way the Zerofivers play. “Jae-Sung fits Mainz 05 brilliantly, with the way he plays, never giving up and always working extremely hard,” explained Svensson after the Augsburg game. “That’s one of the things that makes him stand out. He goes the extra mile and sniffs out situations where not everyone thinks anything can happen from.”

A lot learned during his time at Mainz

Lee buys into the system and makes the important runs both with and without the ball that are needed under Bo Svensson’s style of play. From the very moment the first whistle blows, the South Korean is prepared to give it everything and this has paid off on a number of occasions since the turn of the year. The 30-year-old scored in the opening two minutes against both Dortmund and Bochum and also scored inside the opening 25 minutes against Augsburg. “Bo always emphasizes that we need to give it everything from the first second. My role is to defend, attack, make runs, score goals and pick up assists.”

Lee is currently in the midst of his most prolific season in the Bundesliga and his second most ever in German football. His most prolific season was during the 2019/20 campaign when he scored nine goals for Holstein Kiel in the 2. Bundesliga. Lee made the move to Mainz in the summer of 2021 and he found it difficult to adapt initially: “It was tough right at the very beginning. I came from the second tier and it was a challenge both mentally and physically. I learned a lot and I am grateful to Bo.”

I hope that I give it everything right until the final whistle, just like I do in the first minute.

Despite his strong performances, Lee always believes there is room for improvement. Due to his important role at both ends of the pitch, the South Korean often tires himself out and he hasn’t been able to play for a full 90 minutes so far in 2023. He even had to leave the field against Augsburg with cramps. “I hope that I give it everything right until the final whistle, just like I do in the first minute. Our squad has a lot of quality. I give it everything until I can’t give any more.”

This never-say-die attitude is not only a hit with his teammates, but also with the fans. Equipped with his flowery hat, sunglasses and microphone, Lee led the celebrations after the Carnival home game against FCA. The number 7 also mentioned that the supporters are a “huge motivation” and he is often cheered on by a number of South Koreans who make the trip to Mainz to see their hero in action. “I get a lot of support from my compatriots and you often see South Korean flags in the stadium. This makes me really happy,” explained Lee, who also played an important role for his country at the World Cup.

Lee will have the chance to strut his stuff once again at the weekend as the Zerofivers travel to Leverkusen (Sunday, 19th February, 19:30 CET).

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