As his team prepare to return home after seven days of pre-season training in Colorado, 1. FSV Mainz 05 head coach Martin Schmidt reflected on a hugely positive week.
"The team really threw themselves into it here," said the 49-year-old, "especially if you consider the tough conditions because of the travel, the time difference and the altitude. I also really liked the friendly games we played - we gave an excellent account of ourselves in both."
The 05ers were based at the impressive Lodge at Flying Horse hotel in Colorado Springs, where they trained daily in preparation for the new campaign. Their trip also included friendly wins against Colorado Springs Switchbacks (6-0) and Mexican side Universidad de Guadalajara (2-1), autograph sessions with supporters, and some well-deserved downtime to enjoy Colorado’s stunning scenery.
Their final day was spent at the nearby U.S. Air Force Academy, where fun was had by all, Academy goalkeeper John Wendt in particular. The amateur custodian enjoyed drills with 'keepers Jonas Lössl, German Olympian Jannik Huth and Gianluca Curci, and he evidently had a blast.
Schmidt's focus will now be on training in more familiar surroundings once the squad arrive back in Germany, all the better for the Colorado experience. "The whole visit has been great for us," he said. "How we were welcomed and how the coaches at the Academy received us was all really positive. It's been great fun and I'd certainly do it again."
Mainz's first competitive game of the new season will be at SpVgg Unterhaching in the first round of the DFB Cup, before they commence their league campaign at Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 1.