Mainz might have slipped into the relegation play-off spot and been knocked out of the DFB Cup at the quarter-final stage by local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt in a miserable week, but coach Sandro Schwarz can count on at least one influential backer in the shape of Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp.

Schwarz and Klopp played 11 games alongside each other for the 05ers between 1997 and 2001, before Klopp took over the reins that same season. Schwarz then played 80 matches under the former Borussia Dortmund coach until 2004, achieving promotion to the top flight that year.

Watch: Klopp scored some stunning goals during his time in the Bundesliga!

"Sandro was my teammate for years," Klopp told kicker recently. "Then after I took charge of the club until we got promoted back to the Bundesliga, he was a really important player in my team. Sandro was always a fighter, a leader, someone who really lived for Mainz 05."

Indeed, even back then Klopp had earmarked Schwarz, a holding midfielder, as a potential successor in the Mainz hotseat.

Schwarz has found it tough going at times this season and Mainz currently sit 16th. © imago / Eibner

"He was always someone who took the initiative, who was a real leader," Klopp said. "They're not the worst characteristics for someone who's going to be a coach!"

Indeed, as the external pressure continues to grow on Schwarz, whose side have only won once in the Bundesliga since November, the 39-year-old tactician will no doubt be grateful for the support of the Liverpool boss.

"Sandro is the perfect solution for Mainz," Klopp said. "He's really good for the club. I was really pleased that he was made coach after learning his trade in the academy. Sandro has the pedigree that fits perfectly with Mainz, a very special club."

Click here for more Mainz news, views and features!