BERLIN: Mainz appointed former fan-favourite Bo Svensson (pix) as coach on Monday in the hope he can keep them in the Bundesliga to follow in the footsteps of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
Svensson, 41, made 122 appearances for the club before retiring in 2014 and takes over from sacked Jan-Moritz Lichte with the side currently second from bottom in the league.
His first game in charge will be at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Svensson recently coached Austrian second-division outfit Liefering, but Mainz hope he can become the next Klopp or Tuchel, who both started their coaching careers at the Opel Arena.
The ex-Denmark international is the third figure with history at Mainz to return recently after their former bosses Christian Heidel and Martin Schmidt joined the board last month.
“Bo has all the qualities we’re looking for in a coach,” Heidel said.
“He learnt the job from scratch in our youth academy and also played under coaches like Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
“He knows what our football has to feel like.”
Like Svensson, current Liverpool boss Klopp finished his playing career at Mainz and coached them from 2001-08.
After he left, Klopp won back-to-back Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund and reached the 2013 Champions League final before moving to Merseyside in 2015.
Liverpool lifted the 2019 Champions League trophy under Klopp and last season ended their 30-year-wait to be crowned English league champions.
Tuchel worked at Mainz from 2009 until 2014.
He replaced Klopp at Dortmund, winning the German Cup title in 2017 before steering Paris Saint Germain to two French league titles and last season’s Champions League final.
After playing for Mainz from 2007 to 2014, Svensson coached the club’s junior teams from 2015-19 before joining Liefering.
His main task is keeping Mainz up after 11 consecutive seasons in the German top-flight, but they currently have six points after 14 games.
However, there were glimmers of hope on Sunday as they led European champions Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena before crashing to a 5-2 defeat. – AFP