- Mainz secure automatic qualification for UEFA Europa League by finishing sixth.
- Martin Schmidt's side record wins over Bayern, Schalke, Leverkusen and Gladbach in an impressive campaign.
- Yunus Malli becomes full Turkey international and finishes as club top scorer.
In his first full season as 1. FSV Mainz 05 head coach, Martin Schmidt well and truly stamped his style on the team, producing energetic and hard-working performances to land the club a top-six finish.
Season in a nutshell
Schmidt pushed his charges to the limit in 2015/16 and their efforts were rewarded with and a guaranteed spot in next term's UEFA Europa League group stage. Indeed, Mainz have never enjoyed a better campaign in their 111-year history. Schmidt has a knack of getting the best out of his players, transmitting his untamed passion for the game while helping them improve at the same time.
Mainz's consistency in the second half of the season was particularly impressive, winning seven and drawing five of their 17 league outings. Players such as Jairo Samperio, Jhon Cordoba, Danny Latza, Christian Clemens and Yunus Malli were crucial to that success, with each of them showing a clear progression over the course of the campaign. Furthermore, the off-field discussion surrounding the departure of sporting director Christian Heidel to FC Schalke 04 did not throw them off course, meaning Mainz's fourth qualification for Europe in 11 years was thoroughly deserved.
Top three games
MD24: FC Bayern München 1-2 1. FSV Mainz
Before the match Schmidt announced his side were heading to Munich with the intention of winning - and it was no empty threat. The visitors took a first-half lead through Jairo, and although Arjen Robben equalised after the break, Mainz struck late through Colombian forward Cordoba to become the only side to record a win at the Allianz Arena all season.
MD23: 1. FSV Mainz 05 3-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Mainz left their visitors with no chance, putting in their best performance of the entire campaign to down Die Werkself thanks to Malli's brace and Cordoba's second goal of the season.
MD21: 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-1 FC Schalke 04
Taking three points off the club that sporting director Heidel will join this summer will have been particularly gratifying for Mainz, even if they did end up one place lower than Schalke in the final standings.
Malli's blistering form faded somewhat towards the end of the season, but this was without doubt his finest campaign yet. The 24-year-old attacker's pace and agility helped him menace Bundesliga defences across Germany and also earned him his international debut for Turkey. Malli finished as Mainz's top scorer with a personal-best 11 goals, while the four assists he contributed meant he had a direct hand in almost a third of the team's goals.
What is next?
Qualifying for Europe was a fantastic achievement for a club of Mainz's size, and coach Schmidt will once again endeavour to push his side as far as possible in all competitions. One of the biggest challenges he faces will be rotating a relatively small squad to compete on three fronts, while it will also be important for new sporting director Rouven Schröder to adapt in his first season succeeding Heidel.
For bundesliga.com reporter Tobias Schächter, it was Mainz's victory over Schalke: There was a sense of disbelief when captain Julian Baumgartlinger netted the winner in the 2-1 triumph. It was the Austrian midfielder's first goal for the club in his 112th game and it came at a crucial time, instilling the rest of the side with the confidence that they could beat anybody. 'Baumi' even found the target again, netting a couple of weeks later in a 1-1 draw with SV Werder Bremen.