bundesliga

Hoffenheim Fanzone: Getting to know the Bundesliga small-town giants

Starting out as a village club in a quiet corner of southwest Germany, Hoffenheim have risen to the top table of European football. Let bundesliga.com introduce you to the club from the smallest town to ever host a UEFA Champions League group game.

History

As is so often the case with German sides, the number in the club's full name TSG 1899 Hoffenheim stands for the year they were founded, initially as a gymnastics club with 20 male members. It was not until 1921 that football was integrated into the club and in 1945 the two departments merged, creating a 'Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft' (TSG) – 'Gymnastics and sports club'.

After years spent competing in regional divisions, the club's fortunes changed in 1989 when local-boy-made-good Dietmar Hopp attended a game and decided to invest. Over the next 20 years, Hoffenheim steadily rose through the divisions, before making one of their most important appointments ever: recruiting Ralf Rangnick has head coach in 2006. He restructured the club both on and off the pitch, eventually guiding them to the Bundesliga for the first time ever at the end of the 2007/08 season. Not only have they remained there ever since, the climb continued to go from strength to strength under the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, Julian Nagelsmann. Taking over at the tender age of 28, he led the club to maiden a UEFA Europa League campaign and then a first tilt at the Champions League, establishing TSG as a force at the top end of the Bundesliga table.

Roberto Firmino, who is now lighting up the English Premier League with Liverpool, was already a showman for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga as part of the club's strong start in the top flight. - imago/pmk

Honours

Bundesliga 2 runners-up 2008

Coach

Nagelsmann announced prior to the 2018/19 season that he would leave the club for RB Leipzig in 2019/20, allowing Hoffenheim a full season to seek his successor. In March, the club confirmed the appointment of Nagelsmann’s former assistant Alfred Schreuder as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

The 46-year-old returns to the club after a year away as assistant coach of Dutch champions and Champions League semi-finalists Ajax. The Hoffenheim job is only Schreuder’s second as a head coach following a season in charge of Twente in his homeland, who he’d also overseen on an interim basis in 2013 as successor to former Wolfsburg boss Steve McClaren.

Former assistant coach Alfred Schreuder has returned to Hoffenheim as the successor to Julian Nagelsmann. - imago images / Jan Huebner

Star man

Hoffenheim's strength lies in the collective and as such there is no standout individual. That said, goals are football's currency, so regular scorers are always highly prized and at Hoffenheim Andrej Kramaric leads the line. The Croatia international was revitalised under Nagelsmann and finished the 2018/19 season with a career-best 17 Bundesliga goals, claiming the title of the club's record Bundesliga scorer. His partnership with the ever improving Ishak Belfodil is also key to Hoffenheim’s success.

Watch: Kramaric: Hoffenheim's record scorer

Last season

Hoffenheim have become one of the most awkward teams to play against in the Bundesliga, constantly harrying their opponents and breaking forward at pace. In recent years they have claimed victories over Bayern Munich, Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig attest to their quality, but their 2018/19 campaign was perhaps best defined by an inability to convert good performances into wins.

Twelve draws was the most in the league and cost Hoffenheim as they came up just short of a third consecutive European campaign, finishing in ninth. Boasting the third-best attack in the league with 70 goals scored, it was issues at the other end that caused TSG the greatest problems.

The stadium

The PreZero Arena was only inaugurated in 2009 and as such it is one of the most modern stadiums in Germany. Tech geeks will be delighted to discover that the roof is covered in solar panels that produce enough energy to power 270 family households
each year, while the giant screens at either end of the pitch span a surface area of 52 square metres.

Although it is relatively small compared to other stadiums around the country, its 30,150 (23,400 seated, 6,750 standing) capacity can still become an intimidating cauldron for visitors once the home fans get into full voice.

Hoffenheim's PreZero Arena's simplistic design allows for the 30,000+ capacity to create an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams. - Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

The city

Although the club is called Hoffenheim it is based in the nearby town of Sinsheim, which is situated in south-west Germany on the Neckar river, in between Stuttgart and Frankfurt. With a total population of just over 35,000, it can become something of a ghost town on matchdays at home.

In addition to the historic town hall, which dates back to the 1840s, the main local attraction is the Sinsheim Auto and Technik Museum that houses a collection of antique vehicles and draws over a million visitors per year.

Getting there

Sinsheim does not have an airport of its own and the nearest one is in Mannheim, approximately 30 miles to the north-west. There are frequent trains and busses from there towards Sinsheim, but factor in that the journey will take approximately 90 minutes. Perhaps a better option is Frankfurt airport, which offers flights to and from a much wider range of local and international destinations. Travel time from there is just over two hours.

- TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Getting to the PreZero Arena

If arriving by car, from Sinsheim-Steinsfurt, traffic can only reach the stadium by taking the diversion along the B39 towards Sinsheim-Zentrum and then turning towards the stadium. Visitors from the direction of Heilbronn are recommended to take the A6 motorway to junction Sinsheim-Süd and then to follow signs to the car park.

If arriving by train, head towards 'Sinsheim Museum/Arena', which is a 15-minute walk away from the stadium. Alternatively, shuttle busses also run between the bus station at Sinsheim Hauptbahnhof (Elsenz) and the PreZero Arena (Sinsheim-Süd business park, Am Hummelberg).

Buying tickets

Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.

Can’t make it? Watch here:

If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.

- TSG Hoffenheim

Buy the kit

You can get your own Hoffenheim jersey from the official club shop.

Stateside fan clubs

A club with a growing reputation around the world, Hoffenheim's first US fan club is located in San Francisco. Find out more about the club, and any potentially closer to you, head HERE.