By the time Jonas Hofmann was 25, his highest number of Bundesliga starts in a single season was eight. Now, just three years later, the midfielder is a first team regular at Borussia Mönchengladbach and has received a maiden call-up to Joachim Löw’s Germany squad.
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on Gladbach's late bloomer...
Born in the western German town of Heidelberg in 1992, Hofmann was scouted by nearby Hoffenheim at the age of 12. He spent the next seven years at the club, rising through the academy ranks and making five appearances (two goals, one assist) for the reserve side in 2010/11.
In 2011 he switched to Borussia Dortmund, chalking up 15 goals and 16 assists in 71 games for BVB's second team over the course of the following three seasons. Hofmann wasn’t part of Dortmund’s first team for their back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs in 2011 and 2012, but he was promoted to the senior squad in time for the 2012/13 season, making his debut under Jürgen Klopp in a 3-1 win away to Hoffenheim, of all teams, on Matchday 17 at the age of 20.
The was the first of three top-flight outings that season, and although he added another 26 in the following campaign, most of them were late appearances as a substitute. With opportunities limited in a star-stacked Dortmund side, Hofmann went on loan to Mainz in 2014/15, hitting three goals in 10 games and ultimately earning himself a transfer to Gladbach ahead of 2015/16.
A series of injuries did not help him settle into the side and, by his mid-20s, Hofmann had yet to fully establish himself in the Bundesliga. That has all changed in recent seasons though, as he has added consistency to go with his maturity, truly making his breakthrough in 2018/19 under Dieter Hecking. He has continued to perform superbly under Marco Rose, hitting five goals and three assists in 2019/20 to help the Foals finish fourth. Löw evidently liked what he saw at the start of the following season, nominating him for the Germany squad in October 2020.
Plays a bit like: Marco Reus
There's only one thing on Hofmann's mind when he gets on the ball: to attack the opposition as quickly and directly as possible. Able to play on either flank, he is blessed with pace and a ballerina's balance, allowing him to quickly change direction and dart past defenders – much like his former teammate at Dortmund, Marco Reus. And like him, Hofmann has switched to a more central role in recent seasons, able to operate as a wily playmaker just behind the strikers.
Watch: Hofmann on fire for the Foals against Wolfsburg in 2019/20!
Did you know?
Hofmann hails from a sport-loving family. His father Harald played handball in Germany's second division, while his older brother Benjamin, four years his senior, has been at Regionalliga (fourth-tier) side Astoria Waldorf since 2008.
What they're saying
"The positions out wide are where I can help the team from best. I want to enjoy my football. My strength is making deep runs into the spaces behind the opposition defence." – Jonas Hofmann
"He's been one of our outstanding players, one of the winners of the season. He's been playing brilliantly." – Former Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking in 2019