They may have ascended to the Bundesliga in 2004 and list their only major honour as the 1982 German Amateur Championship, but in recent years 1. FSV Mainz 05 have repeatedly outshone many of Germany's more illustrious clubs.

This term, the 05ers are on course not only to better their highest-ever Bundesliga finish, but they are also in with a shout of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. bundesliga.com breaks down the reasons for this season's success...

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Yunus Malli: in the form of his life

© gettyimages / Alex Grimm

Yunus Malli had spent four seasons at Mainz before the campaign began but has matured into one of the league’s finest players this term, assisting two goals and scoring an incredible ten to put Mainz in contention for qualification for the UEFA Champions League with nine games to play.

An inspirational skipper: Julian Baumgartlinger

© imago / Jan Huebner

Combative, tenacious and tidy on the ball, Julian Baumgartlinger has led from the very front this term. Into his fifth season at the club, he scored his first Bundesliga goal as recently as Matchday 21 in the win over FC Schalke 04 and has missed just two games this season.

Rewind: Baumgartlinger's first goal

Away-day charm: Jairo Samperio

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It always helps to have a player who has a knack of finding the net away from home, and Mainz’s lucky charm on that front is Jairo Samperio. The Spaniard has scored six times in 2015/16, all of them on foreign soil, including in the victory over FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena.

Rewind: Mainz stun Bayern

'No pushovers' mentality

© imago / Philippe Ruiz

Mainz may be one of the league's smaller clubs in terms of fan base and history, but they relish taking the bigger teams down a peg or two. This season, the 05ers have got the better of former league winners Bayern, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hamburger SV and VfL Wolfsburg, as well as Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Read: Christian Heidel, Mainz's main man

Japanese jewel: Yoshinori Muto

© imago / Eßling

Filling the shoes of the departed Shinji Okazaki would have been a daunting task for any incoming striker last summer, but Japan international Yoshinori Muto has wasted no time in doing so. A return of seven goals, before he was ruled out with a knee injury in early February, is no mean feat from the 23-year-old.

Last line of defence: Loris Karius

© gettyimages / Oliver Hardt

Of the seemingly endless number of talented German goalkeepers, Loris Karius is surely one of the most promising. The former Manchester City Under-21 player, still aged just 22, has made 87 Bundesliga outings for Mainz and is enjoying another excellent season having starred in the wins over Bayern and Gladbach in particular.

Rewind: Karius' heroics against Gladbach

Fortress Coface Arena

© gettyimages / Alex Grimm / Staff

As well as their five away wins this term, Mainz have also become a formidable beast at home. Sunday’s 0-0 draw with SV Darmstadt 98 made it six games unbeaten at their Coface Arena, with five of those yielding victories to help propel them up the table.

Watch: Mainz 0-0 Darmstadt highlights

Watch: Baumgartlinger and Co. on MD25 draw