Summary

  • Mainz finished last season in an impressive sixth place.
  • Will compete in UEFA Europa League group stages this season.
  • Cordoba and Clemens pen permanent deals at the club.

With not long until the 2016/17 Bundesliga season gets under way, it is high time to put each club's upcoming campaign under the microscope. bundesliga.com's previews will provide you with all you need to know ahead of the big kick-off on 26 August…

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Next up are 1. FSV Mainz 05

Big question

The big question for Mainz is whether the club can produce performances as impressive as last season after losing two key players in Julian Baumgartlinger and Loris Karius, and with the added task of UEFA Europa League football.

Guaranteed a place in the group stages of Europe's second competition for the first time ever after finishing an impressive sixth last season, the 05ers will have to balance the demands of a European campaign with achieving a top-half Bundesliga finish.

Watch highlights: Mainz were the only team to beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena last term

That will be a tough ask, but with Martin Schmidt in charge of a committed group of players, it would not at all be a surprise to see Mainz mixing it at the top once again this term.

New faces

Watch: get the lowdown on Mainz's Colombian striker Jhon Cordoba

New sporting director Rouven Schröder has built upon the good work of his predecessor, Christian Heidel, acting quickly to secure permanent deals for two of last season's most impressive performers: striker Jhon Cordoba (five goals) and winger Christian Clemens (five goals).

Young Spaniard Jose Rodriguez, who has arrived from Galatasaray AS, looks a good addition in midfield, while French midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, 20, is also tipped for stardom.

Jose Rodriguez has joined Mainz from Galatasaray. © imago

Baumgartlinger and Karius may have departed, but most of last season's other outstanding performers have been retained, including Jairo Samperio, Yoshinori Muto and, crucially, Yunus Malli.

Coach

Martin Schmidt has impressed since taking the Mainz helm in early 2015. © gettyimages / Thomas Starke/Bongarts

He may look more like a rock star, but Schmidt is a fine football coach. The Swiss tactician made the jump from youth-team coach to the first team in 2015, successfully steering the club away from the relegation zone to an 11th-place finish.

A former car mechanic, Schmidt then took Mainz to sixth last season – the 05ers' second-highest ever finish. In the process, the 49-year-old's charges became the only side to beat eventual champions FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena, recording a 2-1 triumph on Matchday 24.

A demanding coach who favours a high-pressing style, Schmidt expects his sides to run more than any other in the league. It might be a tough approach, but if last season's evidence is anything to go by then it certainly pays off.

Key man

Watch: Yoshinori Muto's Matchday 11 hat-trick against Augsburg

Muto will feel like a new signing to most Mainz fans. Although he joined last summer, the Japanese only featured in three games in 2016, a knee ligament injury sidelining the striker from February until the end of June.

The 24-year-old's absence only left fans wanting more: Muto had managed seven goals in his first half-season in the Bundesliga – including a hat-trick at FC Augsburg on Matchday 11 - showcasing an ice-cool finishing ability and an impressive turn of pace.

Expected to be fit for the start of the season as well as being settled and now speaking German without the need for a translator, Muto could be about to prove that his first half-season in Germany was but a sweet taste of things to come.

Key dates

Mainz visit Borussia Dortmund in one of the opening weekend's most anticipated meetings, with Schmidt's side also travelling to VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04 in the first ten games. The 05ers welcome Bayern on Matchday 13 and face local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena on Matchday 16.

Click here to see Mainz's full schedule

Home ground

The newly named OPEL ARENA boasts a capacity of 34,000.

Watch: get to know the OPEL ARENA in the exclusive video tour below