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GROUND // Opel Arena - 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Germany)

Since our visit to Germany last year (Bochum) was such a success we decided to go back to our eastern neighbours to attend a game. This time we went to Mainz, a team currently playing in the Bundesliga.

Over 100 years ago, in 1905, 1. Mainzer FC Hassia 05 was founded. The first game against FC Germania Gustavsburg was won 5-3 and exactly 100 years later the exact same game was played in remembrance of the teams first game. In 2005 Mainz won 14-0. These first years Mainz 05 mostly played in the southern German leagues and usually ended somewhere in the middle. It wasn't until 1910 they first got an own stadium, including dressing rooms and a grandstand.

In 1912 1. Mainzer FC Hassia 05 merged with Mainzer FC Hermannia 1907 to become 1. FC Hassia-Hermannia 05 but changed their name into 1. FV Mainz 05 shortly after the merger. In 1918 they underwent a second merger. This time with SV 08 Mainz and the team name became 1. Mainzer FSV 05.

Between the two world wars the team often played in the highest southern German division and ending in very high positions as well. The NSDAP shook up the complete competition and the team never managed to get the same results again. In 1938 a lot of teams were forced into mergers and in the area Reichsbahn SV Mainz 05 was founded. Immediately after the war 1. FSV Mainz 05 was refounded to continue their activities.

Throughout the 50s their results went up and down and in 1963 Germany redesigned the complete football structure, introducing the Bundesliga. Mainz 05 had to go to the newly created Regionalliga. In 1973 the good results started to come back. They won their league, but in the promotion play offs they lost. One year later the promotion to second Bundesliga was finally a fact. Two years later they ended somewhere in the middle but voluntarely relegated for financial reasons. This was the first time ever a professional team did this.

All throughout the 80s Mainz 05 did very well in third division, but never succeeded in promoting back to second division. Something which finally happened in 1988. Only for one year though. In 1990 they returned and Mainz 05 slowly but surely became better and better. In 2004 it finally happened, 1. FSV Mainz 05 went to the Bundesliga for the very first time. In 2007 and 2008 they briefly went back to second division, but up until now they are still in the Bundesliga. They are doing so well, their second team is improving as well. The B team plays in third division, the highest of all B teams and also the highest league in which a B team is allowed to play.

Some big names played in Mainz as well. Players like Schürrle, Jürgen Klopp, Klasnic, Ivanschitz, Voronin and Blaise Nkufo all wore the Mainz shirt at one point in their career. Currently Bojan Krkic plays at Mainz, but so far his results are very disappointing. 1. FSV Mainz 05 mostly played in the Stadion am Bruchweg, but moved into the Opel Arena (formerly known as Coface Arena) in 2011. The Stadion am Bruchweg is being used by their B team now.

Anecdote: In 1967 they played for the smallest crowd in their existence. In a game against FC 08 Homburg only 79 fans showed up. Mostly thanks to the national team that played a game at the same time.

Anecdote2: In 1969 they were on the verge of relegating and they started talks with SVW Mainz to merge. SVW refused a merger. At the end of the season FSV managed to stay in the league and SVW, tragic as it is, relegated.


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