Senin, 27 September 2010

Bundesliga: The Mainz 05 miracle

Have you heard about German Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05? If you aren't a regular follower of the German league then most likely you will not have heard about them. And then you would be surprised to see them top of the Bundesliga with 18 points from six matches, six wins out of six games. It's a rare achievement for any club, but a special one for the club from southwest Germany.

And being top of the Bundesliga was made even sweeter over the weekend with a 2-1 away victory against champions FC Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. It just wasn't a rare win against the record league champions, but a demonstration of Mainz's current form. In the end even Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said at the post match press conference that Mainz deserved to win and if they continue like this they could be a contender for the title.

But small little Mainz 05, which calls itself a carnival club as Mainz happens to be one of the home towns of the German carnival, can judge their own high flight realistically. But slowly the series of wins is getting scary, a couple of more wins and then Mainz would create a new Bundesliga record. It seems all is now possible.

And who are the main architects behind this unbelievable success? Coach Thomas Tuchel and sports manager Christian Heidel besides long time president Harald Strutz. Heidel and Strutz have take Mainz from a small second division club, always on the bring of relegation, to being amongst the top 25 clubs in Germany. This is a phrase often used by clubs who tend to be amongst the clubs fighting relegation in the Bundesliga and are amongst the top clubs in 2.Bundesliga. But now the club is working to establish itself a little higher in the hierarchy of German football. A new 35,000 seater stadium is being build and the club has in recent years cleverly bought young, talented players cheaply and invested in the Academy before selling them on for a high price. The most recent example is that of André Schürrle, an own Mainz Academy product who has been sold on to Bayer 04 Leverkusen for 8,5 Million Euros for summer 2011.

The other factor is coach Thomas Tuchel, a 37 year old greenhorn, who coached Mainz's Under-19 to the Youth Bundesliga title before the club gambled in giving him the job of chief coach in August 2009, just days before the league started. The gamble has paid off as Tuchel has been sensational with the club and players. Though still young he is a tactical mastermind and has formed a young side which he can rotate to keep the physical burden low. Tuchel has already used 19 players in his starting eleven with Lewis Holtby, André Schürrle and Ádám Szalai the star performers.

It is a great football miracle happening in Mainz at the moment. Some are already comparing it to 1.FC Kaiserslautern in 1998 when they won the Bundesliga title as a promoted side. But one will have to wait and see for how long it will continue...

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