Joao Klauss (l.) is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Firmino (r.) and Hoffenheim's past Brazilian contingent. - © imago/ DFL
Joao Klauss (l.) is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Firmino (r.) and Hoffenheim's past Brazilian contingent. - © imago/ DFL

From Brazil to Hoffenheim and back: Joao Klauss out to emulate Roberto Firmino and company

Joao Klauss has cited Carlos Eduardo, Luiz Gustavo, Roberto Firmino and Joelinton as role models, and hopes to emulate his countrymen by becoming a regular fixture in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, and playing for Brazil.

Klauss - 23 and, as his surname suggests, of German descent - is yet to represent his Brazilian homeland internationally, but is optimistic regular minutes at Hoffenheim could pave the way to a maiden cap for the Selecao.

The 6'2" Klauss (r.) is beginning to find his feet at Hoffenheim under Sebastian Hoeneß. - imago

The career paths of Eduardo, Gustavo, Firmino and Joelinton, in particular, fuel his hopes.

Eduardo was the first of 15 Brazilians to date to join Hoffenheim, playing his part in the Sinsheim outfit's historic promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008. The second, Gustavo - currently of Fenerbahce - spent two-and-a-half-years at the Rhein-Neckar Arena, before helping Bayern Munich win a 2013 Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League treble, and Wolfsburg a 2015 DFB Cup-Supercup double.

Carlos Eduardo registered 19 goals and 22 assists in 90 competitive appearances for Hoffenheim. - imago

Liverpool star Firmino's 153 appearances for Hoffenheim are the most by a Brazilian, as are his 49 goals, while Joelinton followed up his 21 strikes in 79 games during a two-year loan spell at Rapid Vienna with seven goals and as many assists in 29 Bundesliga outings. All except the now Newcastle United frontman have turned out for the five-time FIFA World Cup winners.

"Hoffenheim was the perfect springboard for Carlos Eduardo, Luiz Gustavo and Roberto Firmino to go on to represent the Brazil national team," Klauss told the Hoffenheim website.

"Joelinton showed how loan players can develop and how they can take on an important role when they return to TSG. That was very inspiring for me."

Watch: Roberto Firmino's breakout season at Hoffenheim

Klauss is enjoying his first full season with the Hoffenheim first team, having initially joined the club's reserves in January 2017.

Between times, he scored 48 goals in 103 appearances across loan stints with Helsinki and LASK, before making his long-awaited Bundesliga debut as a 59th-minute substitute in the 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen on Matchday 5 of the 2020/21 campaign.

The former Gremio U20s striker has since made first-team cameos against Union Berlin, Wolfsburg and Genk, whilst taking to the pitch for his full debut in the 5-0 UEFA Europa League win over Slovan Liberec prior to the November international break.

"Finland and Austria were just steps along the way to establishing myself at Hoffenheim," Klauss explained. "The big competition for places is additional motivation for me, and it's important for everyone in the team. I'm delighted to be able to play alongside big-name players like Munas Dabbur or Andrej Kramaric.

"I'm ready to fight for my place and prove myself in the Bundesliga."

Klauss could make his first Bundesliga start when Hoffenheim host promoted VfB Stuttgart in the Baden-Württemberg derby on Matchday 8.