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Veteran Mainz manager

Heidel: We've come a long, long way in Mainz

Christian Heidel, general manager at FSV Mainz, has worked for the club since April 1991. He oversaw promotion to the Bundesliga, where the Rheinhessen outfit have now carved out an established presence. A volunteer for many long years, Heidel finally went full-time in 2006. “A lot really has happened in Mainz," he told FCB club journal Bayern Magazin. We reproduce sections of the interview.

Interview: Christian Heidel

Christian Heidel, Munich is always worth a visit, and especially for FSV Mainz, who won one and drew one of their last two matches at the Allianz Arena. Are you looking forward to Saturday?
Christian Heidel: I basically look forward to every Bundesliga match, but obviously any game against Bayern is always a bit special.

Mainz are now in their fourth consecutive Bundesliga season, and moved to a new stadium last term. When you started at the club all those long years ago, you can't have thought it would reach this stage, could you?
We had a district league ground with 1,000 seats, a running track, a long jump pit and a water jump for the steeplechase. It used to be that we had a crowd of 3,000 celebrating the club avoiding relegation from the second division every year. Even then, we had ideas and a vision, but we were mocked for it. Now we've spent seven of the last nine seasons in the Bundesliga, and we've constructed two new stadiums. A lot really has happened in Mainz.

Do you feel your success in recent years has led to increased expectations among the fans and at the club?
Yes, definitely. We have a much larger fan base, and lots of them have to learn what this club is all about. The important thing is a united front from the management, and that we can cope with the pressure. The board directors led by Harald Strutz have worked successfully together for more than 20 years and have a finely-honed instinct for situations arising at the club.

It's well known that you have a close relationship with your former coach Jürgen Klopp [of Dortmund]. Does he pay you a special bonus if you get a result against Bayern?
You've reminded me of something important (laughs). Didn't we take five points off Bayern last year? He somehow seems to have forgotten. But seriously: as always, we'll try everything we can to beat BVB. Unfortunately we've only managed it once since Kloppo started there. But we're working on it – that's a promise!