TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

TSG Hoffenheim is a Bundesliga side based out of the village of Hoffenheim, in the Sinsheim municipality of the Baden-Württemberg state of Germany. Hoffenheim was originally founded as a gymnastics club in 1899, and came into its modern guise in 1945. The club have won no major honours, with their rise coming in the last two decades due to the backing of Dietmar Hopp, a co-founder of the software firm SAS.

Hopp owns 96% of the club, having played for the club as a teenager. He has a special affinity for the town and the club due to his roots in the village, and he began backing the club financially around the year 2000. Hoffenheim became a major force in the region in the following seasons, reaching the third division in 2001. Around 2005, Hopp increased the scale of his investment, aiming to reach the Bundesliga. He managed to attract Ralf Rangnick, who had Bundesliga managerial experience with Schalke 04 and VfB Stuttgart, to the club as first-team head coach, under whose stewardship the club quickly rose through the divisions and reached the Bundesliga in 2008. The club has been on an upward trajectory since then, qualifying for European football for the first time in 2017 after a fourth-place finish in the league, their highest-ever league finish.

They bettered this the next season, finishing third in the 2017-18 season to qualify directly to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League; the previous year’s fourth-place finish had seen them qualify for the play-off round, where they lost to Liverpool and had to play in the UEFA Europa League instead.

Hoffenheim play their matches at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, also known as the PreZero Arena for sponsorship reasons. It is a 30,150-capacity multi-purpose stadium, and was opened in 2009, following investment by Dietmar Hopp and the side’s promotion to the Bundesliga. Hopp’s influence can also be seen by the fact that the club’s former stadium was called the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion. The club colours are blue and white, seen on the club crest and home kit. Due to the club’s recent and rapid rise, there are no established rivalries; however, fans of rival clubs have often derided TSG Hoffenheim as ‘plastic’ due to their rise being funded by Hopp and not being ‘organic’, and so most Bundesliga games are heated affairs for the Hoffenheim fans.

The side is currently managed by Alfred Schreuder. The Dutchman had previously managed FC Twente in his native country, and first joined the club as assistant manager in 2015. He remained at the club till 2017, before leaving to join Ajax as assistant manager, and then returned as head coach at the start of this season, following Julian Nagelsmann’s departure to RB Leipzig. The current club captain is Benjamin Hubner, who joined the club in 2016.

This season, Hoffenheim were in ninth place when the season was suspended, only two points from a Europa League playoff spot, and three points ahead of FC Koln in tenth place below them.