Sports psychologists would have had a field day on Friday night as FSV Mainz 05, dressed-up in the garb of the local carnival season, and promptly lost 5-1 at home to Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen.
We’re often told by those who extol the virtues of sports science that the choice of colour in a football shirt can have a marked effect on the performance of elite professional athletes.
Every year, the custom for German clubs to release one-off shirts in celebration of their cities’ local carnivals throws up some of the most interesting entrants into the world of football shirt design, and on Friday night, Bundesliga club FSV Mainz 05 got right into the spirit of the festival; by playing like a bunch of jokers.
The Rhineland city of Mainz is famed for its annual carnival which runs from 11th November to Ash Wednesday and dates back to the early 19th century when locals aped the occupying French and Prussian forces by wearing elaborate caricatures of their uniforms.
Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour eh?
In the run-up to the close of the carnival, the city’s local footballing heroes have taken to playing in shirts that celebrate the colourful and satirical Mainzer Fassenacht or Fastnacht, and this year’s jester style kit by Lotto caught the eye of football supporters across the globe.
FSV Mainz 05, nicknamed the Karnevalsverein (or carnival club), welcomed a Julian Brandt inspired Bayer Leverkusen to their Opel Arena on Friday night in a match broadcast to an international audience.
At first we admired the home side’s audacious outfit before we began to respect the method-acting ability of Sandro Schwarz’s men to get into character, as they played like absolute clowns and shipped 5 goals in their own backyard.
As football kit connoisseurs, we celebrate the flamboyant, colourful expression of Sartorial Soccer displayed by FSV Mainz 05, but as supporters of the underdog everywhere, we commiserate with Die Nullfünfer (the 05ers) fans for their teams’ performance in shirts that looked, well, a little bit silly.
Lotto made just 1,111 shirts for this year’s carnival season and whilst they had no problem in selling them, we’ll be interested to see if the hangover from Friday night means next year’s version will be a little more sober.
What do you make of the trend for one-off novelty shirts in football?
Please let us know in the comments section below!