Mainz have appointed former player and youth boss Bo Svensson as the new head coach of their first team on a three-and-a-half-year contract. He succeeds Jan-Moritz Lichte, who had already replaced Achim Beierlorzer earlier in the season.
Svensson, 41, takes over with Mainz second from bottom in the Bundesliga and on only six points after 14 games.
A former centre-back, he made 122 competitive appearances for the club during a playing career that also saw him spend a year at Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2006/07, having moved to the Bundesliga from Copenhagen in his homeland.
Following his retirement, the three-time Denmark international returned to the 05ers as a coach with the U16s, working his way up through the age groups before joining Liefering in the Austrian second tier in 2019. He also served as assistant to now sporting director Martin Schmidt during his time as head coach.
“Bo brings all the qualities we want for our position as head coach,” said newly re-appointed board member for sport, Christian Heidel. “He learnt his coaching from the bottom up in our academy and also learnt as a player from coaches like Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
“He knows how our football needs to be. We’re convinced he has the character and strong will to convey that knowledge to the team.”
Svensson continues Mainz’s tradition of giving the top job to someone who knows the club. Klopp made over 300 appearances for the club before he was put in charge in 2001. Tuchel, Schmidt, Sandro Schwarz and Lichte had all previously overseen the youth teams or reserves.
Another former youth coach at the club, Bakak Keyhanfar, also returns as Svensson’s assistant.
After Jan Siewert took charge of the first game of 2021 away at Bayern Munich, which the visitors led 2-0 at half-time before succumbing to a 5-2 defeat, Svensson will take to the dugout for the first time in Saturday’s local derby at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Watch: Highlights of Mainz's spirited display in Munich
The 05ers finished six points clear of the relegation play-off spot last season, but start life under Svensson five points adrift of outright safety, with 20 rounds of fixtures remaining.