A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today
It took nearly a century for 1. FC Mainz 05 to establish themselves as a credible force in German football but, now based at one of the newest stadiums in the Bundesliga, the Nullfünfer should be around for some time to come.
Crucial to their modern-day development has been Jürgen Klopp, the dynamic young coach who later revived Borussia Dortmund. Klopp came to Mainz as a young striker and ran out for the Red and Whites for his entire playing career, a record 340 appearances in the Zweite, before transforming the club as coach.
Up until then, Mainz had hardly bothered the statisticians. The club had just begun to challenge the wonderfully named Wormatia Worms to be top dogs in the regional Bezirksliga Main-Hessen when the Nazis came to power. The club’s Jewish members fled, or worse, and a relegated Mainz were subsumed into Reichsbahn SV Mainz just before the war.
As 1. FC Mainz again, and back (eventually) in their old ground of Bruchweg, the club climbed up to Germany’s second flight and, apart from one lost decade, pretty much stayed there until Klopp arrived.
A raw 22-year-old forward, Klopp made a record number of appearances for Mainz in the Zweite, switching halfway through the 1990s to defensive duties. Coach from 2001, he led Mainz on improbably close near misses for promotion – once when Mainz had the Bundesliga in the bag before news came through that Frankfurt had scored three (!) Fergie-time goals. A year later, though, Mainz were up – on goal difference.
A Fair Play passage to the UEFA Cup in 2005 made up for a mid-table Bundesliga finish, but Mainz fell in the first round to eventual winners Sevilla. In truth, the club weren’t quite ready for the big time – Klopp left for Dortmund, and it took another year down below before Mainz bounced back up with a vengeance. Thomas Tuchel’s team notched up a record seven-win run but lost at home to the top four sides and ran out fifth. Goals from André Schürrle saw the future Chelsea striker head for Leverkusen and Mainz have been looking for that seven-win form ever since.
Still, European football twice in four seasons was no mean feat – though Klopp himself would have been disappointed at seeing single-round defeats to relatively modest opposition on the part of his old club.
The field of dreams – and the stands around it
Opened in July 2011, the Mewa Arena is one of the newest stadiums in the Bundesliga. With four stands set tight against the pitch, one with standing fans right along the sideline, this 34,000-capacity ground was designed with football, and only football, mind. ‘English-style’ is how Germans like to describe it. The Mewa is situated past the university on the western outskirts of town, surrounded by freshly ploughed fields and the colourful façades of the Fachhochschule Mainz.
The location wasn’t always thus. When Jürgen Klopp’s Mainz started knocking on the door of the Bundesliga in the early 2000s, it was soon obvious that the pre-war Stadion am Bruchweg, although modernised in 2002, wouldn’t be suitable. Indeed, for the most successful season in the club’s history, 2010-11, Mainz had the lowest crowd in the Bundesliga, 20,000, and a tight squeeze at that.
Unable to build anew at their old site, Mainz first considered five other locations including, to much protest, Mainz-Kastel over the river in Wiesbaden. Finally, Bretzenheim was settled upon and ground was first broken in May 2009.
Costing around €45 million to build and €15 million for the land, the Mewa, originally Coface, Arena was opened in July 2011 with an invitational four-team tournament, the LIGA total!-Cup, won by Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund.
Of the 34,000 places, nearly 14,000 are standing, 11,650 for home fans in the Lotto Rheinland-Pfalz-Tribüne (sectors P-S). Away fans in the opposite ENTEGA-Tribüne are also given more than 1,000 standing places in sectors G and H, as well as seats in J nearest the ORGENTEC-Tribüne. The ORGENTIC itself is unique in Germany, maybe even in Europe, in that is has a narrow sector of standing fans, the Supportbereich Gegengerade, running the length of the sideline.
Opposite, the Haupttribüne contains the the Fanshop and ticket office, plus the Fan-Kneipe on the corner with the home end.
Going to the stadium – tips and timings
Two city buses run to the stadium from the area of Mainz train station, plus match-day shuttles.
Every 10-30mins (Sundays hourly), bus 68 (direction Klein-Winternheim/Bahnhof) leaves from stop G outside the train station, and bus 69 from stop F (direction Fachhochschule), both via the Hauptbahnhof West A near by the InterCity Hotel. Each takes 10mins to reach the nearest stop to the stadium – Ackermann Weg for the 68, the terminus of the Fachhochschule for the 69. Single tickets of €2.40 are waived for up to 5hrs before kick-off for ticket holders on match days. In the run-up to kick-off, free shuttle buses for ticket holders leave stop S on the slope of the railway bridge, to the immediate right as you exit the station.
Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much
Tickets are available in the Fanshop (Mon-Wed, Fri 9am-6pm, Thur 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm, match days) at the Mewa Arena or online via Eventim. Season-ticket holders can also sell seats on for individual matches via the Ticket Börse system.
A simple pricing policy allows home fans to pay €18-€20 in the sideline Supportbereich, with tickets at €26-€42 for seats from the halfway line here in the ORGENTEC-Tribüne to the corners, and in the far ends of the main stand and corner of the ENTEGA-Tribüne. Cheap standing places in the home end will be sold out.
what to buy
Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts
The well stocked 05er Fanshop (Mon-Wed, Fri 9am-6pm, Thur 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm, match day Fri 9am-11pm, match day 10am-7pm or 10am-9pm, match day Sun 1pm-7pm or 3pm-8pm) at the Mewa Arena offers such goodies as branded chocolate (€1.99), lip balm (€2.95) and windscreen ice-scraper with glove (€6.95).
Explore the ground inside and out
On match days, stadium tours (€5) are laid on from 9am, provided there is enough custom for each tour to generate €50. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Drink
Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors
As the stadium is stuck out on the city’s far western outskirts, much pre-match drinking is done in town.
Opposite the station and convenient for the stadium bus, Bavaria (Bahnhofstraße 12) is a small and otherwise unremarkable bar busy with Munich fans when Bayern come to town.
At the stadium, the Croatian-run and daily opening Hasekaste is where the main stand meets the home end takes its inspiration from the original Haasekessel behind the main stand of the old Stadion am Bruchweg. Huge colourful mural photos of Mainz match action and city celebrations share wall space with an equally huge TV screen.
Immediately outside, the Schobbeschachtel beer tent operates on match days, with room for 600 guzzling fans.