Mainz are preparing for a maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign in 2016/17. - © imago
Mainz are preparing for a maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign in 2016/17. - © imago
Bundesliga

Bundesliga season preview: 1. FSV Mainz 05

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…

Big question

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Next up are 1. FSV Mainz 05

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.

- © imago

New faces

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

- © gettyimages / Thomas Starke/Bongarts

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.

Coach

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