mainz 05 – what’s going on in germany?

hannover's ya konan is the bundesliga's top scorer this season, and a symbol for hannover's current success.

a quick look at the bundesliga table will surprise the most curious football fans. hannover 96, almost relegated to second division last season, are currently sitting in third place and are a huge surprise in the still young season. after almost one fifth of the season, borussia dortmund was expected to do okay; but five victories in a row and the second position is more than they could’ve hoped for, and they’ve played some brilliant football. the fans (with a bundesliga leading average attendence of 80,000 every match) are dreaming of the 90s, where borussia was one of europe’s leading clubs and even beat zinedine zidane’s juventus in the 1997 champions league final. young stars kagawa, from japan, and götze, the newest german promise and a probable world cup starter for 2014, are playing in a team capable of brilliant performances, besides the wins.

but what about bayer leverkusen, who beat dortmund away in their first match? or werder bremen? schalke 04, with raul and huntelaar? vfl wolfsburg, who still have edin dzeko, and now have diego? and, even worse: where is bayern munich?

bayern's choach van gaal would love to have 10 points more - mainz's coach tuchel has them!

bayern is in a mini-crisis. they had a slow start due to the players not being quite fit yet. after all, eleven bayern players were in action until the last weekend of the world cup, and after their vacations, there as not enough time to be at 100%. some good performances (against wolfsburg, werder and roma) had been there, and the last-minute 2×1 victory at a strong hoffenheim team seemed to give bayern the momentum they needed. and it seemed ideal – their next match was against mainz 05, a small club who had won all of their matches and were leading the table. at home and during the oktoberfest, bayern would beat the league leaders and start their own attack towards the top.

szalai (left), schürrle (middle, claimed to be the new thomas müller) and holtby (right, the new özil?) are a trio of very young and successful players for mainz.

but they didn’t win. mainz deserved a 2×1 victory in the allianz arena and are now, even more than before, the team of the moment. they’ve done well over the last years anyway, but to lead the bundesliga after a win in munich is a special moment for the club.

after a crisis almost ten years ago, club manager heidel decided to sack the coach, but he couldn’t find a replacement. so he decided to make one of the players the new coach, to see how that went. and it worked beautifully; jürgen klopp is now considered to be one of the top coaches in german football, having had a lot of success at mainz. the offensive defender system, very dynamic and physical, was idealized by him and inspired by english football. with his ability to lead and motivate a group, and his great rapport with the press, it was only a matter of time for him to go to a “big” club – and one that would fit him like a glove, current 2nd placed borussia dortmund.

mainz tried out another coach, who managed to lead them back to the bundesliga after a couple of years in the second division. but things were not going well between jörn anderson and his team, and even before the first matchday of last season, he was sacked and thomas tuchel was installed. and it seemed like jürgen klopp all over again: a nobody, this time coming from the sucessful youth team. same football philosophy, same fire and emotion during a match, same courage and leading abilities. and a big surprise for the bundesliga! mainz beat bayern at home in the 3rd match of the season, and they never had to fear relegation during the entire run until may. they even managed to be unbeaten in their last five matches, and have now won six in a row. with young players, a great and team-intensive tactic and very attractive football – just like dortmund, with klopp.

thomas tuchel took over the team 4 days before last year's season started - and has had success ever since!

mainz 05 are leading the bundesliga table, and it is not a coincidence. they have played as well as their points show, and if there are no major injuries in their future, this run might even last a while.

bayern munich won’t want to let that happen. 10 points behind mainz, they have to start to score some goals and make some points. sunday, against borussia dortmund and jürgen klopp, would be a nice time to start. but currenlty, even another loss wouldn’t be too big of a surprise any more.

klopp is a legend at mainz, where he played and coached for over two decades. he is now currently right behind mainz in he standings, and will play with dortmund against bayern next sunday.

truth be said: these top teams, pre-season favorites, are not fully fit yet (since quite a few players were involved in the final stages of the world cup) and have some injury worries.

bayern’s best two players, robben and ribéry, are out of action; robben won’t play again this year, ribéry will be back in november.

werder bremen has been without their best defender naldo since the beginning of the season, and barely survived a few weeks without mertesacker and pizarro; özil is gone, new signing wesley is still finding his place.

schalke let 15 players go and got 14 new ones, also for financial reasons. the team, with raul and huntelaar, hasn’t found a rythm yet, but it has won the last two matches.

wolfsburg had problems adapting to their new coach, but now dzeko and grafite are working, and new signing diego is being integrated into the team – 3 wins in their last 3 matches.

bayer leverkusen lost michael ballack early in the season, still are without a fully fit simon rolfes – and recently had both top attackers stefan kiessling and patrick helmes missing.

hamburg started well into the season, but has gone 4 matches without winning (3 losses); due to lack of fitness, but also lack of team spirit.

so the door is still wide open for hannover, dortmund and mainz. let’s see how long they can stay up there!

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 10:15  Comments (1)  
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