vOr a year ago, Bundesliga football players swung FSV Mainz 05 a hot candidate to qualify for a European competition. With the 3-1 victory against FC Augsburg on February 11, they began a ten-game unbeaten streak, which ended with another 3-1 victory against Bayern Munich. In these ten weeks they scored 22 points and were seventh in the standings, just two points behind Bayer Leverkusen.

Today, the Rinhessen is light years away from such spheres. Even a victory in the recovery match against Union Berlin this Wednesday (6:30 p.m. in FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on DAZN) would leave them in 17th place in the table. Ultimately, this would mean they would move to within one point of the relegation spot, which they recently had to concede to 1. FC Köln. And in this case the Berliners would be only three points away.

However, if the 05ers come up empty-handed again, their efforts to avoid relegation will likely only turn into a three-way battle with the 1. FC Cologne and SV Darmstadt 98 for the right to play relegation matches at the end of the season against the third-placed team in the second division.

About the ones I like the most Jan Siewert Last Saturday, Werder Bremen trampled on the new hope that arose after the winter signings of Nadiem Amiri and Jessic Ngankam, as well as an argument between the club management, the coach, the team and around 800 fans. “We don't have to think in bubbles, we have to face reality,” said the football professor, who took over as interim coach at the beginning of November and received a contract until the summer of 2026, shortly before Christmas.

If you are looking for the reasons for the precarious situation, it is best to start five days before the end of the previous season. At that point, the winning streak not only ended, but also turned into a four-match losing streak with 13 goals conceded. It wasn't until the 2-2 draw at Dortmund, which helped Bayern win the title, that Mainz showed what they had done wrong in the previous two and a half years. Bo Svensson He had made it so strong.

Of course, they couldn't carry this over to the new season. Failure followed failure, and Svensson's mood worsened noticeably. The coach seemed increasingly frustrated, perplexed and exhausted. The time since he took over in January 2021, when he capped a unique turnaround run in Europe by staying in the league with seemingly relegated Mainz, had cost him energy. This, combined with the disappointment of missing out on a trip to Europe, led to a largely disgruntled outward image of the manager.

In retrospect, it probably would have made sense if the club and manager had agreed to part ways after the end of the previous season. Although the Dane, who worked at Bruchweg as a professional, youth and Bundesliga coach for a total of 17 years with a short break, he was considered sacrosanct for his services to the club.

At the latest, with Svensson's first resignation offer after matchday three (Mainz had just been dismantled after a dismal 4-0 performance in Bremen), they should have accepted it. Hoping to achieve a turnaround together turned out to be a fallacy. Only after the elimination of the cup in Berlin did Svensson change his mind.

Chronic staff shortages

A second reason for the drop to the bottom of the table is the almost chronic shortage of personnel this season. Up to six defenders were eliminated at the same time. Andreas Hanche-Olsen was last on the pitch at the beginning of August, and Jonathan Burkardt, much missed in attack, did not return until the end of November, but after a forced break of more than a year, he still needs Time to find your old form. The failures were accompanied by poor long-term results in the form of other high-performing players from the previous season. The staff, which was kept small for economic reasons, could not compensate for all this.

Siewert still managed to stabilize the defense. Since he took over, only seven goals have been conceded in ten games; Before there were 24 in nine games. This pound could be used to prosper if the misery of the attack did not continue.

In addition to Svensson's nine goals, only five were added, two of which came in Siewert's debut against RB Leipzig, Mainz's first and only victory of the season so far. The result: among other things, three 0-1 defeats in games in which the 05ers were at least not the worst team, as well as three draws in which the same applied. As a result, between ten and fourteen points that a team with a functional offense would have scored were lost.

He recently abandoned the unexpected caution that Siewert opted for after the winter break against VfL Wolfsburg and in Frankfurt against Werder. Although the much more offensive orientation did not lead to success, there is hardly any way around it. The additions of Ngankam and Amiri (hopes for a change are based mainly on his playing strength) really require it. Otherwise, FSV Mainz 05 is likely to be one level below after 15 years of success in the top flight.