Thomas Tuchel: the Mainz years that brought Bayern Munich's coach to prominence


Thomas Tuchel is one of the most recognisable coaches in world football and it was at Mainz where the current Bayern Munich tactician's rise to prominence first began. Ahead of Die Roten's clash with Die Nullfünfer on Saturday (kick-off: 6.30pm CET), bundesliga.com takes a look back over Tuchel's stint in charge of the 05ers...

Season 1: 2009/10

When Norwegian coach Jorn Andersen was relieved of his duties ahead of the start of Mainz's return to the Bundesliga, the club opted to promote Tuchel following his U19s Bundesliga triumph. The impact was immediate, with the Carnival club managing a couple of draws before downing the mighty Bayern Munich in front of a capacity home crowd at their former home, the Bruchwegstadion.

Tuchel succeeded in outwitting the hugely experienced tactician Louis van Gaal on that late August afternoon, when Andreas Ivanschitz and Aristide Bance were on target for the hosts. The stage was thus set for a memorable campaign for Mainz, with their new man - his fame for an almost obsessive training-ground attention to detail rapidly increasing - in the hot seat.

Mainz would go on to take the scalp of Borussia Dortmund - led by former 05ers' coach Jürgen Klopp - as they racked up 12 wins and 11 draws to finish in the top half of the table for the first time in their history. With star turns like future World Cup winner Andre Schürrle, top scorer Bance and and current Mainz coach Bo Svensson on board, former Stuttgart and Augsburg youth team coach Tuchel had already made his mark in some style.

Watch: When Tuchel faced off against ex-Mainz hero Klopp 

Season 2: 2010/11

If the 2009/10 campaign brought Tuchel to domestic attention, then the following campaign was the year the Krumbach native rose to continental prominence. The 05ers won their first seven games of the season – including another famous 2-1 success against Bayern, this time in Munich – and ended the season in fifth, a club record to this day. The club's four away wins in a row in the Bundesliga that season also represented a new a club record. Where efficiency defined Mainz in front of goal the previous season, only four sides scored more goals than Mainz’s 52 in 2010/11.

Schürrle took an important step up on his rise to superstardom by scoring 15 goals, while his fellow Bruchweg Boys – so named for celebrating as if in a band - Lewis Holtby and Adam Szalai both chipped in with four. Sami Allagui was another key cog in Tuchel’s pressing machine, netting 10 goals.

Tuchel had made the unorthodox move of hiring a couple of sports bloggers, namely Martin Rafelt and Rene Maric (now himself a successful coach), to help out with providing reports on Mainz's opponents that season. Tuchel's methods, and the high-energy pressing of his players, helped to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds.

Future World Cup winner Andre Schürrle (l.) and Tuchel (r.) meshed well at Mainz. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/Rene Schulz

Season 3: 2011/12

Losing their Europa League third-round qualifier to Romanian side Gaz Metan Medias brought disappointment for Mainz during the summer of 2011, but that was tempered by opening victories in the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg. Indeed, with Mainz on top of the standings after those first domestic games, the possibilities for one more high-flying season seemed a distinct possibility with Tuchel in charge.

By this point, Schürrle had departed for Leverkusen, but Tuchel could count on the striking talents of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting - whom the coach would go on to work with at Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern. The Cameroon star registered 10 Bundesliga goals in 2011/12. However, following the highs of the previous campaign, Mainz dropped to a 13th-placed finish, with an early exit from the DFB Cup adding to the feeling of disappointment.

The 39-point return in the Bundesliga ended up being the Mainz's lowest total during Tuchel's time at the club, although he did manage to oversee yet another victory against Bayern, who had found their bogey club in Mainz.

It all began at Mainz: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Tuchel (l-r.) have worked together at three clubs. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/Werner Schmitt

Season 4: 2012/13

A fourth consecutive season for Mainz in the top flight under Tuchel brought one more 13th-placed finish to a Bundesliga campaign in which they picked up an admirable seven draws on the road. A hard-fought battle for places meant that just two more victories would have seen the Carnival club finishing in seventh place. The 05ers also enjoyed a run to the DFB Cup quarter-finals, where they were eventually eliminated by Freiburg.

With Tuchel deploying Hungarian international Szalai up front, the forward responded by weighing in with 13 goals. Nicolai Müller (eight goals) and Andreas Ivanschitz (seven) also helped Mainz's cause in the coach's penultimate season in the Rhineland-Palatinate.

Watch: Thomas Tuchel's Top 5 moments at Mainz 

Season 5: 2013/14

Tuchel's final term at Mainz brought a seventh-placed finish that saw the team bag a spot in the Europa League qualifying rounds. The 15-goal Shinji Okazaki was a revelation, registering the most goals for a Japanese player in the Bundesliga. Choupo-Moting added a further 10 goals, while Zdenek Pospech and Johannes Geis produced 15 assists between them.

When the curtain finally came down on his Mainz career, Tuchel had taken charge of 182 senior competitive games, winning 72. Having built his reputation to become part of a hugely respected generation of German coaches, the future Champions League-winning tactician would see his next challenge take him to Dortmund. Yet his status as a Mainz coaching legend was cemented forever after five memorable seasons at the helm.