Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on the wrong track

Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on the wrong track

SThey started the Bundesliga as if they could take the top division of German professional football by storm. The TSG Hoffenheim celebrated the so-called autumn championship as a class newcomer in December 2008, which amazed everyone, including the German series champions FC Bayern Munich.

But the Kraichgauer could their power-sapping conquering football under the promotion coach Ralph Rangnick couldn’t hold out and dropped to the still respectable seventh place in the second half of the season. Even the first attempt at the highest goals contained the late failure that was almost priced in at this location.

Barely fifteen years later, they’re nibbling on Hoffenheim, although consistently first-class since the ascent in 2008, more than ever because of the relapse syndrome that is now common in the Kraichgau. The professional teams of TSG, who were more capable then as now, started off strong again every year before they waned even more.

Nesting instability

The Dutchman Alfred Schreuder, who succeeded Julian Nagelsmann, the most successful Hoffenheim football coach in 2019 and under whom TSG finished fourth in 2017 and third in 2018, was never among the matchday winners between the 21st and 27th matchdays – and was fired four matchdays before the end because the possible European Cup qualification was jeopardized, which his interim successors managed in sixth place.

After that got Sebastian Hoeness his chance. In his first season 2019/20 he bravely struggled through, plagued by many injured professionals or those suffering from Corona. Eleven place was not chalked up to him. But it is true that in the following season he was unable to stop the instability of his players nesting in Hoffenheim after eight games without a win. From the European Cup candidate at the beginning of the season back to midfield as a league bottom for the season finale: that led to the separation.

Also André Breitenreiter, just celebrated in Switzerland as a surprise champion with FC Zurich, got to know the consequences of Hoffenheim’s feel-good climate faster than he would have liked. After a promising start to the season, ten competitive games without a win led to a deep fall: from fourth to fourteenth place. As a result, the coach had to leave after around seven months.

There, where the media pressure is lower than at any other Bundesliga location, where the beautiful city of Heidelberg offers many a player an urban refuge from football stress, where form and fitness are worked on in the Zuzenhausen training center in the middle of the green, talent is often formed and promising professionals who can only moderately withstand the tough competitive pressure in the Bundesliga at the weekend.

Only when the players of this special club deal with the adverse reality of everyday professional football more robustly than in the past can mere promises turn into real success stories like under Nagelsmann’s direction. The sporting protagonists of the club, which was catapulted into the Bundesliga by the start-up aid of its patron Dietmar Hopp, must leave their wrong path as quickly as possible for current reasons. Otherwise there is a risk of relegation this season.

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