By the time Jonas Hofmann was 25, his highest number of Bundesliga starts in a single season was eight. Four years later, the midfielder was a first-team regular for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hansi Flick's Germany. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the late bloomer, who has joined Bayer Leverkusen ahead of 2023/24...
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 in 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 had a direct hand in 10 Bundesliga goals that season, and 12 the following campaign, before producing a career-best returns in 2021/22 and 2022/23 (12 Bundesliga goals in each, as well as a repsective five and nine assists).
Hofmann was rewarded with a maiden Germany call-up on 7 October 2020. Injury cost him a place at the rearranged UEFA 2020 Euros, but he's been heavily involved ever since, registering two goals and an assist in 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Arminia, and scoring in 2022 UEFA Nations League draws with England and Hungary. Although an attacking midfielder at club level, the nifty 5'8" talent has largely operated on the right wing or at right-wing-back under Flick.
Watch: Hofmann on fire as the Foals beat Bayern on Matchday 15 in 2020/21
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, but with the additional boon of being able to play as a wing-back.
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
"Jonas is a very intelligent and ball-safe player with good speed. He has real quality in attack, and has the will to work hard defensively." - Flick
"We signed Jonas all those years ago because we saw the qualities that he's showing now. He's proof that you're not the finished article at 22 or 23. In the last two-and-a-half years, he's really come on. He's become a Germany international, which not a lot of people saw coming." - former Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl
"He's been one of our outstanding players, one of the winners of the season. He's been playing brilliantly." - Hecking after overseeing Hofmann's breakout at Gladbach
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