Bundesliga Hinrunde report card: Mainz 05

2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over Mainz. 

The story so far

As at 1.FC Köln the Hinrunde has been a disaster for Mainz and has seen them take the emotional decision to part company with coach Bo Svensson. After two seasons of achieving top half finishes under the Dane, the Nullfünfer find themselves joint bottom of the table going into the Winterpause and a real fight on their hands in the New Year to extend their 13-year stay in the top flight of German football.

The new season started with much optimism after the club narrowly missed out on qualifying for Europe last season, but the positive feeling soon dissipated with an abysmal start to the campaign. Mainz failed to win any of their opening nine matches, suffering defeat in six of them. 

After two-and-a-half seasons at the helm carrying on in the ‘Mainz way’, coach Bo Svensson paid the price for the abject start with his job. “Mainz 05 owe a lot to Bo, especially the fact that we’re still playing in the Bundesliga today,” explained sporting director Christian Heidel at the time. “However, over the past few weeks, we’ve spent many hours discussing how we can reverse the negative trend. Unfortunately, there are always complex developments in football that can bring such a successful joint effort to a point where it might be better to take a new path.”

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The new path saw U-23 coach Jan Siewert take temporary control and he enjoyed the now customary ‘new trainer bounceback effect’ with a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in his opening match in charge. The team however soon reverted to type and failed to win any of their last six games before the end of the year. Four of those games were drawn, but Mainz kept themselves off the bottom of the table going into Christmas courtesy only of their slightly better goal difference.

Two of the key newcomers last January have failed to replicate their top form from last season with defender Andreas Hanche-Olsen limited to just two appearances due to an ankle injury and striker Ludovic Ajorque failing to hit the back of the net at all. Fellow forward Karim Onisiwo has just one goal to his name. The departure of Anton Stach to Hoffenheim is also being felt, but the decline in Mainz since last season is a difficult one to diagnose.

Jan Siewert has now been given the job on a temporary basis so the squad know what they are working with going into the second half of the season. Any canny January transfers would be welcome (as proved so valuable last season), but Mainz face a real test at the start of 2024 to keep their place in the Bundesliga. With just one win in 16 matches- the writing is on the wall. Must do better. 

Tale of the tape

Record: 1-7-8, 10 points (0.63 per game), 16th in Bundesliga

Home Record: 5 points (1-1-5) Away Record: 5 points (0-6-3)

Goals: 13 (0.81 per game), Goals Against: 28 (1.75 per game), Diff: -15

xG: 17.9, xGA: 19.8

Highlight

The solitary highlight of the entire Hinrunde was their only win out of their sixteen attempts- the 2-0 home win over RB Leipzig on matchday 10. Die Roten Bullen were on a run of eight games unbeaten with six wins, but the debut of new Mainz coach Siewert put paid to that. Two headed goals from Jae-Sung Lee and Leandro Barreiro in the final fifteen minutes provided the only moment of real joy in an awful Hinrunde

Lowlight

The whole Hinrunde? The painful decision to part company with Bo Svensson was a low point, while the heaviest defeat was the 4-0 reverse suffered away at Werder Bremen. It’s hard to pinpoint just one low point when the whole story so far has been so depressing for Mainz fans.  

Stand-out performer

In a cast of under-performers, there has at least been the bright spark of 19-year-old Brajan Gruda to hold onto. The German U-21 international scored his first Bundesliga goal in the 2-2 draw against Mönchengladbach (an absolute banger) and also impressed in the loss at Bayern with Thomas Müller posting on Instagram how impressed he was with the young attacker.

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Grade: F

The only thing keeping Mainz off the foot of the table is goal difference and with only one league win to their name, the lowest grade is a no-brainer. A big improvement is required and they need to rediscover some kind of home form to at least give them a fighting chance. Mainz have avoided the drop for over a decade, but perhaps face their toughest year in a long while. 

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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