Jonas Hofmann has had plenty to smile about with Borussia Mönchengladbach and Germany this season. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Jonas Hofmann has had plenty to smile about with Borussia Mönchengladbach and Germany this season. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
bundesliga

How Jonas Hofmann became a first pick for Hansi Flick's Germany

Since being named in the Germany squad for UEFA Euro 2020, Jonas Hofmann's career has taken off, with the 29-year-old becoming one of the first names on the team sheet for Borussia Mönchengladbach and the national team.

Hofmann only made his national team debut little over a year ago, but he has not looked back since. Now in his footballing prime, Hofmann has hit top gear and is bang on course to better his best season ever, with four goals from ten Bundesliga games just two shy of the six he scored last term.

Those goals and his 11 assists earned him a place in Germany's squad for Euro 2020. Although a knee injury prevented him from featuring, just being part of the squad and breathing in the atmosphere had an uplifting effect on Hofmann.

"Once you've had a taste of the national team, you want more," Hofmann said on his club's website. "It also increases your own demands and expectations in yourself. The Euros were a positive experience because it was my first major tournament, but it was also a negative experience because unfortunately I got injured and couldn't play in it.

"But you still develop from such things and it brought about a hunger and desire of wanting to play for Germany more in future."

Watch: Hofmann is an October Player of the Month contender

Since Hansi Flick took charge in the summer, Hofmann has become a regular in the national team and his club performances have also improved. Benefitting from Flick's ability to get the best out of his players, spending just a few days a month under the former Bayern Munich coach's tutelage is having a positive effect on the 29-year-old.

Beating Flick's former club 5-0 in the DFB Cup was another shot in the arm for Hofmann and his team. "The Bayern game gave us all a huge confidence boost," he said. "In that game, we all showed what we can do and what we're capable of as a team."

If the truth be told, Hofmann had already demonstrated that often enough, merely underlining what his game is all about against the record champions. In Gladbach's 2-1 win over Bochum four days later, he hammered the message home. Covering a total of 12.2km and making 40 sprints, he was the most active man on the field.

"Covering lots of ground is part of my game," Hofmann told DAZN. "Sprinting a lot is something you can always do when you're fit, and that's something I always try, even subconsciously. It can be extremely important in certain situations."

Jonas Hofmann has had a lot to celebrate this season, with his single-season best of six goals coming under threat. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

With his pace and workmanlike properties, he was able to keep up with Alassane Plea to score the crucial second goal in that game – his fourth of the season – coming from a right-wing role he has flourished in this term at club level, and where he also had an impact for Germany against Armenia, scoring his second international goal and providing his first assist in a 4-1 victory.

That game was his national team night of reckoning, just like the coming-of-age cup win over Bayern had been at club level.

He earned praise from all quarters and it was unsurprising that Germany's main threat came down the right, where Hofmann was combining so well with Thomas Müller. After exchanging passes with the Bayern forward, Hofmann delivered a perfect pass for Kai Havertz to open the scoring. "That was precisely the way to get in around the back of a five-man defence and Hofmann did it magnificently," said Bayern legend Lothar Matthäus to RTL.

There was praise also from Flick, who has taken Hofmann under his wing and is seeing the results.

"He's a very intelligent player who's comfortable on the ball and has good pace," said Germany's head coach. "Just look at the way he created the opening goal and scored one himself – both were very well done and clever.

"That's what Jonas is all about – he's there or thereabouts when goals are being scored and he's got enormous quality."

Indeed, Hofmann ranks number one in shot-creating passes across the Bundesliga this term and given the way he is playing under Adi Hütter, it is particularly difficult for opponents to pick him up. They just don't know where he might come at them from next.

"The flexible system Adi's playing suits him down to the ground," said Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl. "Jonas has proven down the years that he's an incredibly versatile player and can perform on the wing, as a No.10 or even as a No.6, and the fact he's now scoring more goals has lifted him to the next level."

Not only is Hofmann scoring more goals, he is creating more chances than anybody else across the entire Bundesliga. While he may still be waiting for his first assist of the season, he has contributed to more shots than any other player in the division, averaging 5.51 actions leading to a shot on goal for each 90 minutes on the field.

That is better than the man he was combining with in the national team, Müller, emphasising how important both are in terms of creativity, while a deeper delve into how Hofmann is creating so many chances returns another favourable figure in terms of the number of key passes played: 32 – second only to Christian Günter.

With the demands all that brings, he could be forgiven for not managing to perform at peak level every week, but that is an excuse Hofmann would never use or, indeed, need.

"I feel fit and am quick to recover well," he said. "For me, tiredness is a figment of the imagination. When we play the ball around the way we did against Bayern or in the first half against Bochum, then you don't even notice any tiredness."

All you do notice with Hofmann is a tireless professional who may have blossomed a little later than many, but is now in full bloom for club and country.