1. Fußball- und Sportverein Mainz 05 e. V. is a German sports club based in Mainz, the capital city of Rhineland-Palatinate.
It is mainly known for its football team which plays in 1. Bundesliga, the highest level of league-football in Germany. Besides football, the club also has sports departments for handball and table tennis.
The Mainz 05 team usually wears red shirts and white shorts, symbolising the colours of the city which was the hometown of Johannes Gutenberg. The team is also known as ‘Die Nullfünfer’ and it currently plays its home-games at Mewa Arena. Its main rivals are Eintracht Frankfurt and 1.FC Kaiserslautern.
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The club was founded as 1.Mainzer Fussballclub Hassia 1905 in the same year of its name. After playing for a number of years in the Süddeutschen Fußballverband (South German Football League), it merged with Mainzer TV 1817 to become 1. Mainzer Fussballverein 05, dropping Hassia from its name in 1912.
The Early Period
Following the end of World War I, the club joined with Sportverein 1908 Mainz which resulted in the formation of 1.Fußball- und Sportverein Mainz 05. The club gained a lot of success in the early years and reached the national championship after winning the Kreisliga Hessen in 1920/21.
Mainz 05 earned more titles in the years interspersed between the two Great Wars. It took the 1st division title in Bezirksliga Rheinhessen-Saar for the 1926/27 season. The club then secured top-division titles in the Hessen group for Bezirksliga Main-Hessen during the 1931/32 and 1932/33 campaigns.
However, the Nazi Party soon took power in Germany and introduced the Gauligen system for football. Under the Third Reich, Mainz 05 played in Gauliga Südwest for 1933/34 and was relegated in its first season. In 1938, it was forced to join with Reichsbahn SV Mainz and played under its name until the end of World War II.
Following the end of the war, Mainz became a part of Oberliga Südwest and finished the inaugural 1945/46 season in 10th but managed to escape relegation. In the next 15 years Mainz was a mid-table side that flirted with relegation but did not drop into the 2nd division although it never qualified for the national championships either.
Trials and Tribulations
When the DFB announced the formation of a nationwide league to consolidate the top-tier of German football, Mainz found itself in deep trouble to stay in the 1st division. It ended the 1962/63 campaign in 12th position, thereby missing out on qualification for the new Bundesliga and was relegated to Regionalliga Südwest.
Mainz remained in Regionalliga Südwest for as long as it served as the 2nd division of German league structure. The club mostly competed in the upper end of the table during this period and even took the division title in the 1972/73 season but failed to secure a promotion to the top-flight in the playoffs.
While the 2nd division was to be condensed at the end of the 1973/74 season, Mainz 05 finished its final campaign in Regionalliga Südwest in 5th spot. Thanks to its consistent performances, the club was able to avoid the mass relegation and got included among the top 7 teams from the division that remained in the 2nd tier.
For 1974/75, Mainz featured in the Süd division of 2.Bundesliga and finished the much more competitive league in 11th position. By this time, the club was hovering close to bankruptcy. In 1975/76, the team ended in 12th position but withdrew from the 2nd tier due to financial instability.
It moved to the amateur Oberliga Südwest in the 3rd division at the start of the 1976/77 campaign and stayed there for the next 10 years before clinching the league in 1987/88. It gained promotion to 2.Bundesliga but dropped back to the 3rd tier after ending the 1988/89 season in 17th position.
Back in the 2nd Division
Mainz 05 won the Oberliga Südwest title again in 1989/90 to secure an immediate promotion up to the 2nd division. Its second return to 2.Bundesliga proved to be a far more pleasant experience and Mainz strived to earn an encouraging 8th place finish at the end of the 1990/91 season.
With the reunification of Germany, the 1991/92 season applied a special format where the 2nd division was split into two regional leagues. Mainz were drawn into 2.Bundesliga Süd where it finished in the bottom-half and eventually dodged relegation by virtue of a marginally better goal-difference.
Mainz finished the 1992/93 in 12th position when the league was extended to 24 clubs and ended the next season with an 11th place finish with the league contracting down to 20 teams. For the following 3 years, Mainz stayed in the bottom-half moving closer to the bottom-3 than the top-end.
In 1996/97, Mainz climbed up to 4th place and lost out on a direct promotion to the top-tier in the absence of the playoff system. For the next 3 seasons, it slid back and into the mid-table albeit without any relegation fears until it stumbled down to 14th position at the end of the 2000/01 campaign.
Reaching the Bundesliga
At the back end of the last campaign Mainz had appointed former player and fan-favourite Jüergen Klopp as its manager. The club bounced back strongly in his first full season and ended 2001/02 in 4th position, missing the chance to move up to the top-division by a single point.
Klopp rallied his troops once again and the team gave another firm effort at promotion in 2003/04 but fell short by an even smaller margin this time. Mainz had seemingly earned a top-3 spot but ultimately finished in 4th place due to the goal-difference of a single goal that was scored in the final minute on the final day.
Despite suffering another heartbreaking end to the season, Mainz returned with even stronger resolve to secure promotion in 2003/04. Its persistence finally paid off and Mainz took 3rd place on goal-difference at the end of the campaign and jumped up to the top-tier for the first time in the Bundesliga era.
The Present Era
Mainz 05 appeared in 1.Bundesliga for the first time in 2004/05 and finished the season in 11th place. It repeated the feat in the following campaign while the club also featured in Europe for the first time after winning Germany’s nomination for Fair Play. After making it through the qualifying stage, it lost 0-2 to eventual winners Sevilla in the 1st round.
However, the 3rd season in 1.Bundesliga turned to be much more challenging as it ended 2006/07 on 16th spot and with no playoffs in place, was directly relegated to the 2nd tier. Jüergen Klopp stayed on as manager for 2007/08 but resigned from his post at the end of the season as Mainz finished in 4th position in 2.Bundesliga.
Breaking New Boundaries
Jörn Andersen took charge for the 2008/09 campaign and guided the team to a runner-up finish and earned promotion back to the top-flight. But he was surprisingly sacked from the post right before the start of the next campaign and Thomas Tuchel was named as the new manager.
In his first season, Tuchel drove Mainz to the top-half and finished the 2009/10 season in 9th spot, its best finish in 1.Bundesliga up that point. The club improved further in 2010/11 taking 5th position in the league-standings and qualifying for Europe on merit for the first time.
The 2011/12 was a dampener with Mainz falling down to finish on 14th place in the 1.Bundesliga while it was also eliminated from the UEFA Europa League prior to the group-stage. It ended the following 2012/13 campaign in the bottom-half as well, taking 13th spot in the league-table.
Mainz climbed up to 7th place in 2013/14 and managed to earn a qualifying berth for the UEFA Europa League. But at the end of the season, Thomas Tuchel stepped down as manager to take over the vacant job at BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund and Kasper Hjumland was brought in as the replacement.
Despite establishing itself in the top-flight, Mainz 05 has gone through some testing times over the last few years. There have been prolonged periods of instability and the club has gone through 8 head-coaches since the start of 2014.
Kasper Hjumland was sacked in the middle of the 2014/15 season before Mainz ended the campaign in 11th position under its new manager Martin Schmidt. In his first full-season Schmidt took the club to a 6th place finish and earning a spot in the group-stage of the UEFA Europa League.
But with its modest squad, Mainz was fraught by the continental competition. In addition to bowing out of the UEFA Europa League in the group-stage, Mainz ended the 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign in 15th position and escaped finishing in the bottom-3 only due to goal-difference.
Martin Schmidt was sacked and Sandro Schwarz named as the replacement for the next season. But Mainz did not fare much better in 2017/18 either and eventually finished just 3-points outside the drop-zone in 14th spot. Over the next 3 years, the club changed the head-coach on 3 occasions but failed to move up from the bottom-half.
The incumbent manager Bo Svensson came into the job in the middle of the 2020/21 campaign with Mainz reeling down in 17th position. The Dane was able to stem the rot quickly, ultimately taking the club up to much safer waters in 12th place and he has certainly managed to steady the ship since then.
Mainz 05 breached into the top-half once again in 2021/22 after finishing the 1.Bundesliga season in 8th spot. Yet it might have ended higher up the table considering it possessed the 3rd best defensive-record in the division but its dreadful away-form turned out to be the major stumbling block since its home-form was rather impressive as well.
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