Mainz top scorer Robin Quaison tells bundesliga.com he is hunting for revenge when his side face RB Leipzig on Matchday 27, having suffered an 8-0 defeat to them earlier this season.
In our exclusive interview, Quaison speaks about life during the coronavirus, his joy in being able to play Bundesliga football again and pick up where he left off with scoring, as well as his desire to get one over on Leipzig this coming weekend.
bundesliga.com: How do you feel now as the Bundesliga returns to action?
Robin Quaison: "At the moment, I'm very good. I'm happy that we get to train normally and we get to play. So now I'm very good."
bundesliga.com: What is this special situation during the coronavirus doing to the team as you're spending time with each other around the clock?
Quaison: "I think the team spirit is getting better every day, because now we get to play. Everyone personally feels better and I think that's good for the team. In the beginning, it was hard for us to stay away, not training and not playing football and not even able to watch football on TV, so I think that was very hard for us. But now I think it's very good."
bundesliga.com: Just how much did you miss football?
Quaison: "Yeah, very much. These times make me appreciate football very much. To be away for like eight weeks, it's the first time it has happened for me and for a lot of players and I think this makes us appreciate our job. We're very lucky to play this sport that we love and do this for a living."
bundesliga.com: How does training look now compared to previous weeks?
Quaison: "To play football, just to play football. The first three weeks when we were home we were just running and it's not the same and when we finally started to train, we couldn't have contact, we couldn't play any games. We just did passing, shooting and in the beginning, it was fun, to see the guys and touch a ball, but after a while that even got a little bit boring, I'm not going to lie. And it was very hard mentally, but now finally we are back and it feels amazing."
Watch: Quaison's first Bundesliga hat-trick this season vs. Bremen!
bundesliga.com: Did you discover any other talents in your free time during this break?
Quaison: "Not really. I was home a lot and missing football. I just watched series and stayed at home, I didn't find anything else that I liked, you cannot replace football."
bundesliga.com: Have you spoken to people at home in Sweden or with former teammates in Italy?
Quaison: "I talked to some players that play for the national team and live in Italy, for them it was much harder than it was for us because their quarantine was very strict. Then when I speak to my family and friends in Sweden, you know the rules there are a lot different, so for them, it was a different experience than for me. We kept contact and were just waiting for some clear rules for when we could start to play and I think in Italy they started to train now, I don't know exactly about the rules they have but I know they're back in Italy and they're training and I'm happy for them."
bundesliga.com: How big is your personal relief that Bundesliga action has resumed?
Quaison: "It feels really good. I missed this and it's what we play for, this is what we live for, to play football, and to compete and it's very fun to go out there."
bundesliga.com: How difficult will it be to rediscover your form and rhythm after such a long break and what will be decisive for the rest of this season?
Quaison: "I think mentally it will be tough, I think that's the hardest thing at the moment, to play without fans. You know, we haven't played games in eight weeks, so it'll be hard, I'm not going to lie. It'll be difficult, but I think all players look forward to this so much, so I think it'll be very good."
bundelsiga.com: Has Mainz's style of play or specific tactics changed during this break?
Quaison: "No, we've been working as normal. We haven't changed anything, we've been working and training as we used to and I don't think you'll see any big differences in the way we play."
bundesliga.com: What are your personal aims for the rest of the season?
Quaison: "The same as it has been during the season. Hopefully, I'll play and I'll do my best to get in shape as soon as possible and start to score goals again, that's my goal – to pick up where I left off."
bundesliga.com: With 12 goals this season, this has been your best season in the Bundesliga. Is there a specific explanation for your transformation into a prolific goalscorer?
Quaison: "That's a good question, I don't know. I've been working a lot off the pitch, analysing myself and trying to get into positions where it's easier to score and so far it has worked. But I need to keep on working because I want to score more."
bundesliga.com: Does your success have anything to do with tactical changes or a new position?
Quaison: "I don't know. I think I found myself in better positions on the pitch, where it's easier to score and then it's not just about me, it's about my teammates. A lot of goals I've scored, I got very good passes in good positions where it's easier to score and the team has helped me a lot."
bundesliga.com: How do you prefer to play up front – with one, two or three forwards?
Quaison: "For me, personally, I just like to play and as you know, I can play a lot of positions, I can play as a striker, I can play on the wing, I can play as No. 10 and I think for me, that's an advantage that I can play a lot of positions. That gives the team a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing a system. We have a lot of good players and for us, it doesn't matter so much which system we play, it's about the players and we need to stay concentrated."
bundesliga.com: Can you describe the feeling of scoring a goal?
Quaison: "No, I always say the best feeling in this world is to score a goal and the feeling is very hard to explain, but let's just say it's the best feeling."
Quaison: "He's a very good player and he's shown it this season and last season in Bundesliga 2 I think he scored a lot of goals as well. He's a very physical striker, very good in the air and when he gets his chance he scores. With the Swedish national team, he didn't play so much, but I remember the first game he started, he scored. He's a goal-getter and he knows how to score goals. He works a lot for his team."
bundesliga.com: What are the differences between you and Andersson?
Quaison: "I think it's very clear. Sebastian is a big striker, strong striker and very good in the air. He fights a lot and I think my way of playing is to have the ball in the feet and to create something and run behind the lines. I think he's somewhat of a more physical striker than me."
Watch: Mainz's 8-0 drubbing at the hands of RB Leipzig!
bundesliga.com: Emil Forsberg is another Swede who is active in the Bundesliga, who you'll face in Mainz's first home game after the shutdown...
Quaison: "Forsberg is an amazing football player, we know that already. Very good with the ball, very smart player, very good passing – he's just a very good player."
bundesliga.com: How does the Swedish national team look at the moment, considering the big target of the Euro was pushed back a year?
Quaison: "For the moment it's hard to say because we haven't played in a long time, but during the qualification, we played very well, I think. We're a very good team and I'm sad the European Championship will not be this year, but at the end of the day, it's for the best. It's about health, it's about saving lives, so I understand the choice that we don't play the European Championship now and I think we'll just get better with time."
bundesliga.com: Your next opponent, RB Leipzig, beat Mainz 8-0 in the reverse fixture. Do you have something to prove in that match?
Quaison: "Against Leipzig, we need to take revenge for what they did to us in the first game. When we speak about it, it hurts us still, because it was a very good game from them and a horrible game from us and we need to take revenge on them."