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Mainz shows Colorado Springs Switchbacks what a good European side looks like

By: SCOTT KANIEWSKI scott.kaniewski@gazette.com
July 12, 2016 Updated: July 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm
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Switchbacks midfielder Taeseong Kim and Mainz 05 Daniel Bohl race for the ball during the Switchbacks and Mainz 05 soccer game at Switchbacks Stadium on {clcl1}. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Switchbacks defender Kevin Durr stood at midfield chatting with Mainz midfielder Fabian Frei.

In German.

Following 1. FSV Mainz 05's 6-0 victory over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Tuesday at Switchbacks Stadium, Durr connected with one player he faced as a kid, and chatted with Frei.

Durr spent 18 years in Germany, growing up playing for a Bayern Leverkusen youth team. And Tuesday's opportunity to play against one of Europe's better clubs was a dream for him.

"It's huge," Durr said. "I never thought I'd get to play against one of the top teams in Germany. It's not an opportunity many people get."

It didn't take long for fans to see the talent possessed by Mainz, which finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season and was one of only two teams to defeat league champion Bayern Munich.

Mainz scored in the sixth minute. Then it added five more (and passed up on a few other chances) in a friendly in the debut of the Colorado Cup. (Mainz plays Mexican team Leones Negros at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Air Force.)

For Mainz the game was about getting ready for the upcoming season. For the Switchbacks it was a chance to see how they stacked up against one of Europe's better clubs.

"A lot of young guys, a lot of players playing, have aspirations to go to a higher level," said Switchbacks striker Aaron King, who has played against other European clubs. "So it's a great exercise to see what needs to be done to get there."

From the get-go the Switchbacks were on their back foot. Though they weren't trying to sit back and defend, the talent of Mainz forced the USL squad to defend throughout the night.

Yet Mainz, which doesn't open the season until Aug. 27, was admittedly not in season form.

"We are still at the beginning and you could see that our legs were a little heavy from all the training," Frei said through an interpreter. "But it was a good game in the end and we are happy with the result."

Mainz scored three times in the first half. It added three more in the second half, capped by a great one-touch goal from Jhon Cordoba in the 90th minute.

Bringing the Bundesliga side to Colorado Springs was a great way to expose fans to Mainz and the league in general, Frei said.

"We are honored to play against a team like that and to be here," he said. "This was the first time for Mainz to be here and very special for the club and the team."

King summed it up another way.

"I don't think the city understands how awesome that was," he said.

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