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Mainz 05 to fire coach Lichte in shakeup ahead of Bayern Munich game

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Mainz 05 is shaking up its leadership, and Jan-Moritz Lichte will be spared a final game against Bayern Munich.

FSV Mainz 05 - Werder Bremen
Mainz 05 coach Jan-Moritz Lichte.
Photo by Torsten Silz/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mainz 05 coach Jan-Moritz Lichte will not stand opposite Hansi Flick on Sunday: he has coached his last game for the Carnival club, according to Bild (paywall). Caught in a downward spiral since 2017, Mainz now finds itself on the brink of relegation, languishing in 17th place with just 6 points — four behind upstart Arminia Bielefeld and only two more than utter disaster Schalke 04.

That is far too little for the plucky Mainzer, who are shaking everything up to bring back the success they enjoyed under club legends Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. Bild claims that Lichte will be dismissed today.

Christian Heidel, who left the club in 2016 for four disappointing years at Schalke, will soon return to Mainz’s executive board. Heidel, 57 years old, will be the new boss, and he is bringing back another popular man to help him: none other than former coach Martin Schmidt.

Schmidt coached the Mainz reserves for five years before taking over the first team for three seasons, 2014/15—2016/17. I would argue that Schmidt was one of the most underrated Bundesliga coaches. He frustrated Bayern on several occasions, and Mainz has not enjoyed any success since firing him. Schmidt did not find similar success at Wolfsburg, where he abruptly resigned in 2018, and at Augsburg, where he was fired near the end of a disappointing season.

After briefly working as a TV commentator, he will return as Mainz’s sporting director. “If everything happens that way, it is the best solution for the current situation,” an unnamed Mainz official told Bild.

Who then will coach Mainz when they play Bayern Munich remains uncertain: according to kicker, Heidel and Schmidt want to sain former Null-Fünfter Bo Svensson, who currently coaches FC Liefering in the Austrian second division.