Weekend! It's time for this week's 'Trequartista'! In this weekly feature, editor Axel falk analyzes something that has happened during the week or just gives us his random thoughts on anything football related. So grab your electronical device of choice and enlighten yourself by enjoying Trequartista!
Mainz is a small, but beautiful city on the Main river with Wiesbaden on the other side of it. It has never been famous for its football, merely because the team itself hasn't been anything worth mentioning for a long time. At least until the 21st century. Now it has established itself in Bundesliga and is one of the upcoming clubs in European football and therefore worthy of a mention from a hipster like myself. However, their most recent season was an odd one and here's why.
Last season, Mainz looked a force to be reckoned with. They had Karius as a young brilliant goalkeper, Baumgartlinger and Okazaki, but most importantly, they had Johannes Geis. It looked very interesting and exciting and I saw Mainz as one of the contenders for Europe, but something happened with the team. They faltered and failed where they had succeded before and when the season ended, they were in the bottom half of the table. Thus, when Geis and Okazaki left it felt safe to say that they would struggle even more. After signing Danny Latza and Fabian Frei as Geis' replacement, it looked a bit better, but still, their upcoming season looked doomed. Mainz' most recent season was one of their best ever and they reached European football onxe again after a few years adrift. Martin Schmidt's revolution was complete and he had turned an ordinary and mediocre squad into a winning German machine. Baumgartlinger struggled with Frei initially, but then was put in a pivot together with Danny Latza and it clicked. This partnership was what took Mainz to Europa League.
Another partnership is the one in the backline. Stefan Bell and Niko Bungert have played together for a while now and this season it certainly showed. Stefan Bell was probably one of the best centre backs in Germany this term and together with Bungert, their conceded/game ratio was surprisingly small for a team with obvious attacking strengths. Up top they had Yoshinuro Muto and Yunus Malli and when they got going, they scored whenever they wanted. A breakthrough season for both.
Beforehand, I said that Mainz would struggle to even stay up. Therefore, I am shocked, amazed and very glad. It looked an unfathomably hard task to reach European football for them, but with a new magic manager from Mainz, everything seemed possible (Even beating FC Bayern was more than possible). However, what will happen now? They have lost Baumgartlinger, arguably one of their most important players, to Bayer Leverkusen, they might lose Loris Karius to Klopp's Liverpool and a few other players could be on their way out as well. What is next for this old Mainside club? It is hard to predict, but not many tasks are harder than this season's and therefore, I am very sure that they will and can handle whatever comes in their way. because if anything has been proved by this season in European football, then it is that "impossibilities" are irrelevant.
Bleib stark Marco Russ!
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