Pros 16.05.2023 — 19:10 Uhr

Dahmen: Sad to be leaving, but excited for what’s next

The FSV academy product looks back on his time at Bruchweg ahead of his final home game for the club

Sunday will be Dahmen’s final home game at the MEWA ARENA as a Zerofiver.

Goalkeeper Finn Dahmen has been at 1. FSV Mainz 05 for 15 years, working his way through the ranks of the club’s youth sides and going on to make his professional debut for the club. This summer, the youngster will leave the club where he spent the majority of his career so far in order to pursue a new path. He will take with him fond memories of his time in Mainz, where he was fortunate to form life-long friendships and make his Bundesliga debut in a memorable match against none other than FC Bayern Munich. “I think it’s necessary for me to take the next step now, but I’m also extremely grateful for the time I spent here,” Dahmen said ahead of his final home game as a Zerofiver against VfB Stuttgart on Sunday (15:30 CEST).

A big change

"It will be different," Dahmen said about what it will mean to no longer go to Bruchweg every day, the way he’s been doing for the last 15 years of his life. Not only will he no longer get to see his teammates ("Who I’ve grown very close with"), but it will also mark the first time that the goalkeeper will move away from his family. "I’ve been here my entire life, so it will definitely be a massive change," he said. However, the 25-year-old is looking forward to broadening his horizons and taking the next step in his career. "I want to play regularly, because it’s what I enjoy doing, and I want to establish myself in the Bundesliga," he explained.

I want to play regularly establish myself in the Bundesliga.

The Wiesbaden native remembers his first days at FSV like they were yesterday. "I have to admit, I was a little sad back then," he said about the decision to move to Bruchweg from Eintracht Frankfurt. "It was just a bit closer," he said about the move, which his parents preferred, adding "It was definitely the right decision." He has never regretted moving to Mainz where he "immediately felt at home" and "enjoyed every single season."

Dahmen made his professional debut in Munich in January 2021.

Focus on football never a problem

"At a young age, I always found it cool to play against the bigger teams at tournaments," said the goalkeeper on his time within the Mainz youth setup, adding that he never felt any pressure. "I always enjoyed playing football," said Dahmen, highlighting the impact of "very good goalkeeping coaches,” who had the same ideas but different approaches.

Together with a partner school in Wiesbaden, Dahmen was able to combine his football career with an education. Missing out on a few birthday parties here and there at the ages of 16, 17 or 18 and instead focus on football was never a problem, said the future Germany U21 international. "That's what I wanted and nobody forced me to do it."

Debut against Bayern

The hard work and sacrifice paid off, as Dahmen made the step up to the professional level via the U23s, for whom he scored a goal to remember against Stuttgart in 2018. In January 2021, the then 22-year-old made his Bundesliga debut against FC Bayern; the most special moment of his 15 years at Mainz 05 and something he had been working towards all these years. "I couldn't believe it. Even though the second half didn't go as planned, it was a cool moment and a lifelong dream come true," said Dahmen, looking back on what ended in a 5-2 defeat despite a 2-0 half-time lead against the record champions. The goalkeeper, who said he had only been able to sleep "two or three hours" the night before because of his excitement, said, "I had a guilty conscience because of that, but luckily it went quite well. It was crazy to be on the same pitch as players like Lewandowski, Müller and so on."

I think it will be emotional and a little bit sad.

Now, two and a half years after his Bundesliga debut, Dahmen is facing his last two games as a Mainz player. “I think it will be emotional, definitely a bit sad as well,” said the keeper on the final home game of the season against VfB Stuttgart, but he’s not yet really focused on his upcoming departure, rather preferring to take in the atmosphere and enjoy his remaining days at the club. 

Dahmen' memorable goal

Gratitude for the trust and a friendly relationship

The 25-year-old is aware of who he has to thank for his path to the Bundesliga: "Kuhni has shaped me. He was the one who trusted me to become a professional," Dahmen says, reflecting on his many years working alongside the club’s goalkeeping coach Stephan Kuhnert. "For that alone I am very grateful to him, but also for all the work he put into me. You can tell that all goalkeepers are very close to his heart and that he wants the best for everyone. I hope we’ll stay in contact."

It was a friendly relationship right from the beginning and I really enjoyed it.

Someone else Dahmen has has been working alongside for a number of years now is fellow goalkeeper Robin Zentner. "It was a friendly relationship right from the beginning and I really enjoyed it," said Dahmen on his teammate, admitting that getting along so well with another goalkeeper was not always a given. "I wish Robin, Lasse and everyone I have been able to work with only the best for the future. I think we will stay in touch," said Dahmen. 

Get the best out of myself

As a result, Dahmen suggests that it has been a difficult situation to be working at the same level as Zentner for a long time, but not to have played more regularly. “Obviously, I had hoped that I would have been able to play more games for Mainz 05 here and there, but that’s how it is in professional football, you can’t get annoyed about it. However, I want to make the most out of my career which means that I have to take the next step,” said the goalkeeper, explaining his reasons for leaving.

I want to make the most out of my career which means that I have to take the next step.

Dahmen highlighted that as a goalkeeper it is only normally through injuries or suspension to a teammate that you get to appear. “It is not common to drop a goalkeeper, for that to happen he must’ve done really poorly. With the qualities of the goalkeepers here, that is not regularly the case,” said Dahmen with a grin. Along with all of the pain around leaving there is also excitement about being able to play every week in the future. 

Dahmen saved a penalty for the first time in his Bundesliga career in the win over Leverkusen.

"Unforgettable experience" in Leverkusen

Playing every week was something Dahmen got a taste of at the beginning of the year, with an injury to Zentner meaning that he played seven competitive games in a row for the first time with the first team.  "It was an intense time with lots of games one after the other. I really enjoyed it, put in good performances and we got a relatively good amount of points," said the Mainz academy product looking back. He continued that the support of the fans was cool and the 'Humba' after the away win in Leverkusen was an "unforgettable experience". With his first penalty save in the Bundesliga, and then the Rosenmontag celebrations in Mainz the day after, it was a near-perfect all-round experience.

Dahmen is also particularly grateful for the fans’ support, who always acknowledged his performances and the 25-year-old shotstopper suggests "perhaps also find it cool that I came here from the academy and can recognise that the club means something to me." The Mainz academy product would love to come back to watch the club in the future, but first of all he would like to bring this season to a successful conclusion. "The aim is to win the next game, we owe that to us and the fans because we have had a really good season. It would be a shame if we finish off here with a bad feeling."