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Schwarz takes over as Mainz head coach

Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga club Mainz on Wednesday confirmed former player Sandro Schwarz as their new coach, promoting him from his job in charge of their reserve team.

The 38-year-old was coaching the club’s under-23 team, which has just been relegated from Germany’s third division.

Schwarz made 100 appearances as a midfielder for Mainz between 1998 and 2004.

He replaces Martin Schmidt, who was sacked last week, despite having a year left on his contract, after Mainz finished 15th in the Bundesliga — only avoiding relegation on goal difference.

“I’m really up for this,” Schwarz said in his first press conference as head coach.

“I am looking forward to working with the team, bringing on the players and developing a style of football which will be successful and please the fans.

“That’s the main part of my job. 

“Personally, it’s a very emotional step to be able to coach my Bundesliga team in my town.”

Mainz have a history of putting inexperienced coaches in charge of their first team.

Thomas Tuchel, who has just left Borussia Dortmund, made his breakthrough at Mainz, and twice steered them to the Europa League in his five seasons in charge from 2009-14.

Before Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp, a former Mainz player like Schwarz, spent seven years as coach before joining Dortmund in 2008, then Liverpool in 2015.

“I played under ‘Kloppo’ as a player, which helped shape me,” said Schwarz.

“He was a big part of developing the game here of defending from the front.

“When I was the under-19 coach here, I had some experience with Tuchel and I took a lot out of it.”

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