Cologne - Thomas Tuchel's first appearance in the opposition dugout at the Coface Arena will conjure up some wonderful memories for 1. FSV Mainz 05 fans when the Karnevalsverein host Borussia Dortmund on Friday night (kick-off 20:30 CEST/ 18:30 GMT).
bundesliga.com looks back on the 42-year-old’s unforgettable five-season tenure as Mainz head coach…
2009/10 – 9th
Back in the big time after a two-season absence, there was intrigue countrywide at how Thomas Tuchel, in his first major coaching role, and Mainz would fare. It proved to be quite the ride. Playing an aggressive brand of football, which was to become Tuchel’s trademark, Mainz not only finished ninth but succeeded in shaking up the big time with memorable panache. After drawing their first two games, Mainz beat eventual champions Bayern 2-1 on Matchday 3 at a rocking Coface Arena and did not look back, suffering only two defeats on home turf all season. Aristide Bance found the net on ten occasions, with Andreas Ivanschitz, Tim Hoogland and an 18-year-old Andre Schürrle all chipping in regularly from midfield.
2010/11 – 5th
If the 2009/10 campaign brought Tuchel and Mainz to domestic attention, then 2010/11 was the year the Krumbach native rose to continental prominence. The 05ers won their first seven games of the season – including a famous 2-1 success in Munich – and ended the season in fifth, a club record which stands to this day. 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 the first step 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 ten goals.
2011/12 – 13th
After a bright start – Mainz beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen at home on the opening day – 2011/12 swiftly morphed into a season of struggle for Tuchel. While never in serious danger of relegation, 39 points was the lowest return under his tenure. The Coface Arena was far less imposing, with visiting sides coming away victorious on seven occasions, although away from home Tuchel's side became tough to beat, drawing nine games on their travels. A further disappointment was the early exit from the UEFA Europa League, although Mainz added to their good record against Bayern by beating the Bavarians 3-2 on home turf on Matchday 8. The departure of Schürrle to Leverkusen and Allagui's lack of form undermined Mainz’s attacking cohesion, although summer signing Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting scored ten goals and Julian Baumgartlinger's organisation and discipline in midfield marked him out as a future club captain.
2012/13 – 13th
Although ending 2012/13 in the same 13th place as they finished the previous year, there were far fewer struggles in Tuchel’s penultimate season at the helm. So tight was the mid-table after 34 games that Mainz would have finished seventh with two more wins. It was a poor start and end to the campaign which put paid to Tuchel’s side's hopes of finishing higher, although Adam Szalai solved the goalscoring problems by netting 13 times. Nicolai Müller and Andreas Ivanschitz scored eight and seven goals respectively and Mainz romped to the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup, their best performance.
2013/14 – 7th
Tuchel's final season at the Mainz helm ended in a memorable seventh-place finish and Europa League qualification. With an impressive 16 wins, including ten at the Coface Arena, Mainz rediscovered the high-octane pressing game which brought them so much success and recognition in their coach's maiden campaign. Youngsters Loris Karius and Johannes Geis enjoyed breakthrough seasons, while Choupo-Moting again scored ten goals. It was the signing of Shinji Okazaki, however, which revitalised the club: the Japanese marksman netted 15 times in his first season, as well as leading the relentless pressing game quite literally from the front.