When asked about his future at FSV Mainz 05, Jan Siewert keeps a low profile. His answer goes something like this: "You don't know me well yet, but it's really the case that I don't think about it, I only think about tomorrow." But who can blame the man to whom the club's management entrusted the fate of the Bundesliga squad after head coach Bo Svensson took a leave of absence eight months before the end of his contract?
"Until further notice", Siewert, who has been moved up by the U-23 coach, will hold this position, it was said on the first day after Svensson, when a quick solution was needed. Neither sporting director Christian Heidel nor sporting director Martin Schmidt have defined this period of time in more detail.
The latter merely let himself be coaxed into saying that Siewert had not reduced his chances with the 2-0 win against RB Leipzig, but had sent the best possible letter of application in order to become a permanent solution from interim coach.
Only he knows whether Siewert is really not concerned about how and where he will continue, whether he will remain first-division coach or return to the regional league team in the winter break at the latest. Publicly filing claims would be counterproductive, the 41-year-old can only let his work speak for itself.
Regression in Darmstadt
The interim record after two games under his leadership looks brilliant in that four points jumped out (under his predecessor it was only three from nine games) and Mainz kept a clean sheet – up to that point they had 29.
Nevertheless, one should not be blinded by this. While the 05ers managed a deserved success against RB Leipzig because they were defensively stable before the break and also convinced offensively after the break, the game at Darmstadt 98 was a step backwards. Mainz showed no signs of self-confidence boosted by their first win of the season, and to say that they had the clearer chances just because Leandro Barreiro shot over the goal was badly embellished.
In fact, in the end, keeper Robin Zentner and the inability of the "Lilies" saved the point. Siewert surprised in that he changed his Leipzig formation in attack and replaced Marco Richter with Ludovic Ajorque in order to tie up the opposing centre-backs and create space in the half-spaces by using the long centre-forward.
Richter may not have been the strongest man on the field a week earlier, but he had brought a lot of energy into his runs and tackles and thus played a significant role in the success.
Ajorque, on the other hand, who has been below his potential for months, remained as pale and unhappy at the Böllenfalltor as he had been in the previous season. It was also difficult to understand that Brajan Gruda, who was injured against RB but had previously been the only bright spot in Mainz's attack, only came on for Ajorque in the middle of the second half in Darmstadt.
The trainer, and this is a communicative shortcoming, also does little or nothing to answer such questions, to explain his work. In the previous press conferences, he answered friendly, but usually so short and evasive that he still lagged behind Svensson on bad-tempered days in terms of content. The Dane had already done a lot to reduce media work to a minimum. At the moment, the 05ers seem to be working on their own spiral of silence.
Services are crucial
It may be that Siewert, who has been a football coach for ten years, then mainly worked in association and youth work, but also coach of the then Premier League club FC Huddersfield for half a year, is afraid of saying the wrong thing. But fear is a bad advisor, even in coaching. And to say after a game that he can't talk about the next week because all his concentration is on recovery and the next day's substitute training is all too banal.
In any case, it does not contribute to sharpening one's own profile. Of course, the decisive factor in whether he remains in charge "until further notice" is not his public relations work, but his performances and results in the Bundesliga. And whether his superiors trust him to do the job in the long run. According to their latest statements so far, they seem to assume that the effect of the change of coach will not quickly fizzle out in the minds of the players.
"Full confidence in the current constellation," said sporting director Schmidt before the start of the international break, the club has no contact with other coaches. "The coach is really good, we like him," said centre-back Sepp van den Berg after the game in Darmstadt. It is also up to him and his colleagues whether Siewert remains their coach.