Winter break: FSV Mainz 05

14th place

Grade: C-

Mainz has never had many resources, but they’ve managed to establish themselves as a legit Bundesliga squad.

Goalkeeping has been pretty solid. Mainz foes with experience here, using two veterans. Heinz Müller (33) has been good, starting 10 matches. Christian Wetklo (31) has started 7 games, and has even been a bit better. No problems here, unless the pension checks don’t arrive on time…

On defense, Nico Bungert and Jan Kirchoff have been quite serviceable, although the others, while not a disaster, have not been completely solid.

The midfield hasn’t been too bad either. Austrian international Andreas Ivanschitz is playing more of deep forward role, and has been very good, also contributing 5 goals. Marco Caligiuri and Colombian Elkin Soto have done OK as well. One of Mainz more highly valued players (albeit only 4 million), German-Polish DM Eugen Polanski has been somewhat disappointing.

The attack is weak, as you’d expect from a club with limited budget. Sami Allagui is a serviceable striker…in the 2.Liga. The same could be said for his partner, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. They’ve combined for 7 goals, I suppose that’s not too bad.

The coaching is excellent. Thomas Tuchel (38) is one of Germany’s young coaching talents and is following in the footsteps of the Mainz legend Jürgen Klopp, who architected Mainz rise from obscurity to Bundesliga.

Obviously, Mainz is only 2 points above the danger zone, so it will be a struggle to stay out of the relegation tussle. They don’t have much talent, so they’ll have to do it with fighting spirit.



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