MAINZ, GERMANY - JULY 03: (L-R) Marcel Risse, Radoslav Zabavnik, Bo Svensson and Anthony Ujah of Mainz celebrate a goal during the friendly match between FSV Mainz 05 and a Selection of Mainz during the stadium opening at Coface Arena on July 3, 2011 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Mainz avoided relegation last season, but the club looks like they'll be in the battle again this year.
Team: 1. FSV Mainz 05
Manager: Thomas Tuchel
Key Additions: Chinedu Ede, Junior Diaz
Key Losses: Mohamed Zidan, Sami Allagui
2011-2012 Finish: Bundesliga 13th
2012-2013 Prediction: The 2010-11 season was an epic one for Mainz. Thomas Tuchel led the club to 7 wins in their opening 7 matches, and they finished the year 5th in the table. The club announced in September 2010 that Andre Schürrle would be sold the next summer to Bayer Leverkusen. Schürrle made his last season in Mainz a great one finishing with a club record 15 goals. Mainz was also boosted by the brilliant play of on loan players Lewis Holtby and Christian Fuchs. By the start of next season, all three players would be gone. Their struggles started immediately in the third round qualifying for the Europa League when they were eliminated by Romanian side Gaz Metan Medias. Caught up in the relegation all season, the decision to bring Mohamed Zidan back to the club on a six month contract likely saved their season. Zidan scored 7 goals in 12 matches after only playing 12 matches and scoring 0 goals in the previous two years at Borussia Dortmund. Mainz survived to fight for another year.
The club hasn't been very active in the transfer window this season. They let Sami Allagui and Mohamed Zidan leave this summer. Allagui and Zidan aren't world class strikers by any means, but they were very good for Mainz. The two combined to score 20% of Mainz's goals last season. Mainz hasn't brought in a new forward yet, but they signed Chinedu Ede. The midfielder scored 7 goals and had 10 assists last season in the 2.Bundesliga for Union Berlin. Their other signing is Costa Rican defender Junior Diaz from Club Brugge. Diaz should help strengthen their defense.
The player to watch this season will be forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The 23 year old Cameroon international scored 10 goals last year in his first full season with Mainz. He'll be the undisputed number one forward for Mainz this year, so they'll be looking for him to push closer to 15 goals in this upcoming season. Choupo-Moting is exciting to watch and will find the back of the net as long as he stays healthy this season.
Mainz's inaction in the transfer market is concerning. They lost their second and fourth leading scorers in Zidan and Allagui and replaced them with a second division midfielder and a defender. Scoring will be at a premium for Mainz this year, and they'll be relying heavily on Choupo-Moting. They seem destined to be involved in the relegation battle again this season. A few wrong results could find them in the bottom three when May rolls around.