Boasting a coaching cast that includes Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, those infused with the Mainz DNA tend to excel, as the 05ers have often done in Germany's top tier down through the years.
bundesliga.com is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they’ve played up to and including 2023/24.
1. FSV Mainz 05
Years in Bundesliga: 18 (2004-07, 2009-present)
Most appearances: Stefan Bell (256)
Most goals: Karim Onisiwo (32)
Youngest player: Nelson Weiper (17 years, six months, 14 days)
As the name suggests, Mainz trace their history back to 1905. The 05ers found themselves in the second-tier Oberliga following the Bundesliga’s formation in 1963 and qualified for the newly formed Bundesliga 2 in 1974. They finished an entertaining 12th in their second season there, as the division’s top scorers but also with the second-leakiest defence. They then became the first club to voluntarily forego a licence for the second division due to financial reasons and dropped down to the third tier. It wasn’t until the end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s that they returned to Bundesliga 2 and established themselves at that level.
Mainz as a city is most famous for Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, and its Carnival celebrations. It was at the latter in 2001 that a history-defining decision was made to replace coach Eckhard Krautzun with an at the time injured defender called Jürgen Klopp.
The new coach kept them up and there followed two agonisingly close promotion pushes, before finally reaching the Bundesliga for the first time in 2004. Klopp’s side earned many admirers but were still relegated after three seasons. When the current Liverpool coach missed out on an immediate promotion back – again falling agonisingly short – he left for Borussia Dortmund in 2008.
Jorn Andersen did bring them back up the next year but didn’t get to take charge in the Bundesliga. He was dismissed four days before the start of the season and replaced with another era-defining coach, Thomas Tuchel, who had just led the club’s U19s to the national title.
The later Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Bayern Munich boss would establish the 05ers as a top-flight club during his five years, setting the team’s best two points hauls in the Bundesliga and earning them sporting qualification for Europe for the first time with fifth place in 2010/11 (Klopp’s team competed in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup as Germany’s fair-play representative).
Mainz have earned a reputation as a coaching cradle thanks to their ability to produce numerous top coaches in recent years. Since Tuchel, Martin Schmidt, Sandro Schwarz, Jan-Moritz Lichte and incumbent Bo Svensson have all either been an assistant or previously in charge of one of the club’s youth/reserve teams.
That has led to the coining of the “Mainz DNA”, with coaches, officials and players all buying into the club’s way of playing, knowing that a dogged, determined style is their only way of competing with teams in possession of much greater budgets. It’s seen them enjoy 15 unbroken years in the big time.
FSV also hold a unique record in the Bundesliga for the longest run without missing a penalty. They converted 36 straight spot-kicks between Matchday 28 of 2012/13 and Matchday 3 of 2022/23. They are also the only team ever to score four goals away from home when down to 10 men, doing so in a 5-1 win at Hoffenheim in November 2019.