Mainz 05's Benjamin Hoffmann: "Our playing style has a long tradition"

Benjamin Hoffmann, 16 Mar 2023


In this interview for the FIFA Training Centre, Benjamin Hoffmann traces the development of 1. FSV Mainz 05's distinctive footballing identity, and explains how he reflects the club's ethos as Head Coach of its U-19 side.

Benjamin Hoffmann joined Mainz 05 in 2019, having already cut his managerial teeth coaching Borussia Dortmund's U-19 squad. In this series of videos he explains how Mainz's trademark playing style developed under iconic coaches Wolfgang Frank, Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, how his own coaching methods reflect the club's identity, and how he defines success as a youth team coach.

Hoffmann's core areas of focus include:

  • preparing as many players as possible for the professional game;

  • emphasising Mainz 05's principles at the U-19 level so players are prepared when progressing to the U-23 and senior level;

  • playing U-19 matches by adhering to Mainz 05's principles, whilst also remaining variable depending on the opposition.

Watch interview

Part 1: How Mainz 05's football DNA evolved
Part 2: Implementing the "Mainz identity"
Part 3: Forging the next generation of "05ers"

Read summary

Part 1: How Mainz 05's football DNA evolved
In the first part of this interview, Hoffmann traces the development of Mainz's distinctive ethos back to the days of Wolfgang Frank (1951 – 2013; Head Coach 1998 – 2000) whose innovative approach allowed relative underdogs Mainz to compete with the giants of the German game. Frank was succeeded by Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, who built on his foundation by adding a commitment to direct football and more variation in possession. Nevertheless, Frank's fundamental principles, known at the club as "tradition and basis" has remained central to this day. 

Part 2: Implementing the "Mainz identity"
Hoffmann then moves on to talk about how he adopted Mainz's footballing identity after joining the club, and how that identity is reflected in his U-19 side. His previous experience under Klopp and Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund meant he already understood the Mainz philosophy; his task was to apply it on the training ground to develop talented youngsters. Hoffmann provides a number of examples of exactly how this "Mainz DNA" is reflected in his team's play, and considers how that DNA might mutate in the future.

Part 3: Forging the next generation of "05ers"
The last section of the interview describes exactly how Hoffmann develops players, from how he uses pre-season to embed the principles of the Mainz philosophy to the importance of repetition and how he designs training drills to foster creativity and decision-making in possession. He is keen to stress that, unlike in the senior game, success at youth level is about individual players as much as the team. The aim of Mainz's youth academy has always been to provide players for the senior side, and maintaining that supply is a top priority.

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