Mainz were one of the Bundesliga's lowest scorers last season - one of seven teams unable to break the 40-goal mark - but that's where summer signing Jean-Philippe Mateta comes in. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on a striker who, in his own words, "plays a bit like Ibrahimovic."
Country: France (U19s)
Mateta joins Mainz after a fruitful loan-spell with Le Havre in Ligue 2 last season. The 6'3" frontman finished joint-second in the scoring charts on 17 goals in 2017/18, breaking the deadlock an impressive 14 times in 35 league games. He also found the net twice in the Ligue 2 promotion playoff final, a big occasion mentality that fuelled a French Cup debut hat-trick - against Le Havre - back in his LB Châteauroux days.
Plays a bit like:Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Or at least that’s what Mateta himself thinks with the hulk of a centre-forward saying from the 05ers’ pre-season camp in the Netherlands; "I’m a similar size to [Zlatan], and I play in a similar style." Comparisons to Anthony Modeste of Hoffenheim and Cologne fame are very apt in terms of both physique and style, while there are also similarities with former Mainz strikers Aristide Bance and Adam Szalai.
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The route to the top hasn’t come easy for Mateta, who grew up on the outskirts of Paris as the youngest son of six siblings to Congolese immigrants and without any prestigious academy to call his footballing nursery. There were no heady days at PSG; instead Mateta worked his way up through the far less fashionable Parisian clubs of FC Sevran and FA Drancy. French third-tier club Châteauroux then gave Mateta a route into league football, before Lyon took a punt on him last summer.