Nine days after announcing the departure of Martin Schmidt, 1. FSV Mainz 05 have, as expected, named Sandro Schwarz, coach of Mainz II, as their new head coach.
38-year-old Schwarz has signed a three-year deal with his hometown club, with Jan-Moritz Lichte named as his assistant.
He replaces Schmidt who parted company with the club after a narrow escape from Bundesliga relegation, with the club finishing fourth-bottom after winning just four games in the second half of the season.
Ready for the Bundesliga
Speaking as the appointment was announced on Wednesday, Mainz director of sport Rouven Schröder said that Schwarz had earned the job due to “his excellent work with the club so far and his superior qualities.”
He described him as “exactly the right man for the club,” due to “the aggressive and brave brand of football” he instils in his teams, whilst praising his communication skills. “He’s ready in every respect to make the step up to the Bundesliga,” he added.
Schwarz himself said that he wants to “help develop the players” whilst playing crowd-pleasing football. He said he wants his team to be "extremely courageous" and to work hard with or without possession. He described himself as “brutally ambitious” and said the move was “an emotional step,” given his links with the city.
He also cited three former Mainz bosses as his coaching role models – former Mainz manager Wolfgang Frank, his one-time teammate Jürgen Klopp – “he developed the tactic of forward defence” – and Thomas Tuchel, who was in charge of the first team when he took over the club’s under-19 side.
A long association with Mainz
Schwarz, born in Mainz, started his playing career with die Nullfünfer in the late 1990s, playing alongside the likes Klopp, before going on to Rot-Weiss Essen and SV Wehen Wiesbaden. He retired from playing in 2009 at the age of 30.
It was with Mainz’s neighbours Wiesbaden that he began his coaching career as an assistant before taking charge of 1.FC Eschborn. He re-joined Mainz as the under-19 coach in 2013 before replacing Schmidt with the second team.
Playing in the 3. Liga, Mainz II won 28 of Schwarz’s 90 games in charge. In his first full season they finished a credible twelfth, but despite a run of four wins in their last five games, they were relegated at the end of the season just gone.
However the Mainz board have been impressed with his progress, making him the natural successor to Schmidt. He is joined by Jan-Moritz Lichte, who has previously worked with SC Paderborn 07, FC St. Pauli, Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover 96. Analyst Michael Falkenmayer and video analyst Daniel Fischer also join the coaching staff.
Quotes via 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Kicker.