Mainz Fanzone: Getting to know the Bundesliga's Carnival club


The club that introduced Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel their first jobs in coaching, Mainz have been punching above their weight for close to a decade now. Let give you the lowdown on the league’s Carnival club.


The club known today as 1. FSV Mainz 05 traces its roots back to March 1905 and the local Café Neuf. Its sporting history remained confined to regional leagues and was relatively uneventful until a first promotion to the single-tier Bundesliga 2 in 1988. Since 1990 the 05ers have remained in the first or second division of German football.

In the early 2000s the club burst onto the national stage under coach and former player Klopp. The enigmatic defender took over in 2001 with the club at risk of relegation to the third division, but by 2004 he’d taken Mainz into the Bundesliga for the first time and in 2005 a maiden European campaign followed that ended with a 2-0 aggregate loss to eventual champions Sevilla. Despite relegation after three top-flight seasons, Klopp remained with the 05ers to try and secure promotion again. After narrowly missing out in fourth place for the third time as a coach, Klopp stood down and was given a farewell by 15,000 fans in the centre of Mainz.

Now of Liverpool and Paris-Saint Germain respectively, Jürgen Klopp (l.) and Thomas Tuchel (r.) both began their coaching careers at Mainz in the Bundesliga, - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Dennis Grombkowski


The club did secure promotion and their so far only appearance in the DFB Cup semi-final the following year under Jorn Andersen. However, it was Tuchel, who had just led the club’s U19s to the domestic title with a team including the so-called ‘Bruchweg Boys’ of Andre Schürrle, Lewis Holtby and Adam Szalai, who took over for the return to the Bundesliga in 2009/10. Under Tuchel they beat Bayern Munich on Matchday 3 and the following season sat top of the Bundesliga for the first time in the club’s history as Mainz equalled the record for seven consecutive victories to start a campaign. Their fifth-place finish that year remains their highest ever. Tuchel would step down at the end of 2013/14 and eventually follow in Klopp’s footsteps to Dortmund. The 05ers took part in their first Europa League group stage in 2016/17 where they finished third behind Anderlecht and Saint-Etienne.

1x Regionalliga Südwest champions (1973)
1x German amateur champions (1982)
3x Oberliga Südwest champions (1981, 1988, 1990)
1x Amateurliga Südwest champions (1978)
3x South West Cup (1980, 1982, 1986)


Born in Mainz, Sandro Schwarz went on to join the club as a youth player at the age of 17. He made over 100 first-team appearances for the 05ers during seven years, as well as being a member of the team promoted to the Bundesliga in 2003/04, but left without playing a top-flight match to join Rot-Weiss Essen and then Wehen Wiesbaden. After retiring he became assistant coach at Wiesbaden before taking over at firth-tier Eschborn. The side were promoted at the first attempt, but a year later he returned to Mainz as U19 coach. As with a number of predecessors he went on to coach the reserves and then eventually the first team following the departure of Martin Schmidt at the end of 2016/17, who he had previously succeeded in the reserves.

Another product of the club's youth coaching group, Sandro Schwarz kept Mainz alive in the Bundesliga last season, having previously coached the club's reserve team. - © gettyimages / Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Star man

No one played more minutes for Mainz in 2017/18 than Jean-Philippe Gbamin. The six-foot tall Cote d’Ivoire international was a colossus for the 05ers, sweeping up in both defensive midfield and at the heart of defence. The 22-year-old really flourished in his second Bundesliga season, winning over 60 per cent of his aerial duels and showing proficiency with the ball at his feet, completing an impressive 82 per cent of passes. You suspect he will be key once again for Schwarz’s side.

Watch: Meet Mainz's big Gbamin!

Last season

The 2017/18 campaign was a little too uncomfortable for Mainz fans as they finished only three points clear of the relegation play-off thanks to a run of three wins from four in the closing weeks of the season, including a victory at Borussia Dortmund and against RB Leipzig. In the DFB Cup the 05ers reached the quarter-finals again for the first time in five years, but were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by their local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.

A modern classic stadium, Mainz's award-nominated Opel Arena is already a favourite attraction for Bundesliga fans and players, - © gettyimages / Simon Hofmann


Mainz’s home since 2011 is currently known as the Opel Arena. The 34,000-capacity stadium was originally called the Coface Arena and was built to replace the ageing Stadion am Bruchweg. It was nominated for the Stadium Business Award for innovative and new ideas in stadium construction. The ground hosted its first and so far only Germany match in June 2014 as Die Mannschaft faced Armenia in their final warm-up game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup they won.

- © 1. FSV Mainz 05

The city

A former Roman fort city, Mainz is the capital and largest city in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers opposite Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, Mainz is famous as the home of the first moveable-type printing press by Gutenberg.

The city is also renowned for its Carnival – or Fastnacht as it is known locally. The celebrations come to a peak on Rosenmontag when over 500,000 people take to the streets in celebration.

Getting there

Mainz lies just 10 miles to the west of Frankfurt Airport, which is Germany’s largest and busiest. It offers flights to all corners of the globe, so there is no shortage of ways to get to Frankfurt or Mainz. The S8 train then runs directly from the airport station into Mainz. The city is very well served by local and long-distance train services throughout Germany and Europe.

- © 1. FSV Mainz 05

Getting to the Opel Arena

As with all Bundesliga matchday tickets, these allow free travel on local public transport to and from the stadium. The Opel Arena is reachable from the stops Hochschule Mainz, Plaza and Kisselberg via tram and bus lines 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59, 75, 78, 90 and 650.

Buying tickets

Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.

Can’t make it? Watch here:

If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.

Buy the kit

You can get your own Mainz jersey from the official club shop.

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