Surviving the dreaded drop to 2. Bundesliga by just 7 points last term, it’s highly likely that Mainz will once again be in another relegation battle during the upcoming 2020-21 Bundesliga season. The team from Rhineland-Palatinate will again be heavily reliant on the attacking duo of Jean-Phillipe Mateta and Robin Quaison to fire them up the standings during the upcoming season although both could still leave the Opel Arena in the coming weeks amid heavy interest from other clubs.
The departure of either attacker, or potentially both, could be a catastrophic in the short term for Mainz who have relied on their goals in recent years to starve off the very real threat of relegation back to the second tier of German football. There is quality elsewhere on the pitch though, especially across the back line with the impressive Aaron Martin at left back and a strong and stable centre back partnership of Moussa Niakhate and Jeremiah St Juste.
However, despite Mainz boasting some of the best young talent in the Bundesliga, a relative lack of experience and leadership across the squad can only be seen as a big negative coming into this campaign. To survive relegation again this season, they’ll have to constantly put in big performance after big performance during the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign.
Likely starting XI
Robin Quaison – Forward
With the ability to play anywhere across the front four when called upon, Swedish attacker Robin Quaison will once again be Mainz’ main man during their upcoming 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign.
Rumoured to be a favourite of Jose Mourinho’s whose Spurs side were interested in enquiring Quaison’s services this summer, the 26-year-old forward enjoyed another solid season with Die Nullfünfer in 2019-20. With 13 goals and 2 assists in 32 Bundesliga matches last season, Mainz fans will once again be looking to their star attacker for some inspiration this term as the Rhineland-Palatinate side look to stay away from another relegation scrap.
With his blend of power, pace and agility despite his relatively tall frame, Quaison is without a doubt one of the Bundesliga’s most underrated attackers and will be hoping that another solid season for Mainz this time around will potentially open up a big move for him in the near future.
Signing to watch
Luca Kilian – Defender
With only two first-team signings made this summer, this isn’t too difficult a choice to make in all truth. For a fee of around €2million, 21-year-old central defender Luca Kilian joined Mainz from relegated Paderborn and it could prove to be excellent business by Die Nullfünfer in the coming years.
The former Bourassa Dortmund youngster joined Paderborn last summer and played in 15 Bundesliga matches last term, a total that would have been far greater if not for picking up some nasty muscular injuries during his maiden top-flight campaign. With the ability to cover either at right-back or left back and in defensive midfield as well, Kilian could prove to be a shrewd acquisition for Mainz this summer if they suffer with a lengthy list of injuries or suspensions at any point in their campaign.
Mainz’s strength comes with their forward line which could be considered stronger than the teams likely to finish around them at the end of the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign. The tandem of Jean-Philippe Mateta and Robin Quaison up front will prove to once again be the shining light for Mainz during the upcoming season if neither moves clubs prior to their first match versus RB Leipzig on the 20th September.
With 16 goals between them last season, despite Mateta missing the club’s first 14 matches of the 2019-20 campaign with a torn meniscus injury, Mainz’ forward line is key to them retaining their Bundesliga status for another year.
There’s also great quality in central defence where a pairing of Jeremiah St. Juste and Moussa Niakhate are solid despite their respective young ages. If the pair can keep fit for the majority of the Bundesliga season it could really propel Mainz up the table.
Lack of quality
With a barren summer in terms of investment in the first-team squad, Mainz could very well end up regretting not adding some much-needed quality to their squad over the summer transfer window.
In a league campaign that is likely to see more frequent fixtures due to the delayed start date especially if Mainz can manage a run in the DFB-Pokal, Die Nullfünfer could really struggle if key men succumb to injuries or lengthy suspensions. Granted the club have one of the Bundesliga’s younger and most promising future sides but with a lack of real quality in key areas, especially in central midfield, Mainz could end up nervously looking over their shoulder this term at the relegation battle.
This season is likely to prove to be another struggle for Mainz in their quest for Bundesliga safety. With little investment in improving their squad this summer and a lack of real quality running throughout their side, it’s probably going to be a long season for Mainz supporters.
If the club manage to keep hold of star striker Jean-Phillippe Mateta, who’s been the subject of a bid from Premier League side Crystal Palace, and attacking midfielder Robin Quaison, who’s being touted with a move to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, then they’ll fare much better during the 2020/21 Bundesliga season. If either of their star players leave however and are not replaced with an equal amount of quality by the club then a return to 2. Bundesliga could potentially be on the cards come the end of the season.