Cologne - After a respectable first half to the season, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim ended the calendar year in seventh place in the Bundesliga table.
That marks the highest position the relative Bundesliga greenhorns have finished in their six top-flight campaigns to date, and plenty of hard work will be needed if Markus Gisdol's current crop are to match it, or even go one better and qualify for Europe.
As part of their mid-season preparations, the Sinsheim club have planned a ten-day training camp in Johannesburg, where they will be subject to ideal conditions for recharging their batteries ahead of their return to action against FC Augsburg on 1 February. One of many top-flight clubs travelling abroad this month, Hoffenheim will be promoting the club's brand, as well as that of the league as a whole.
The trip is another high-profile tour for Gisdol's men, who rounded off the 2013/14 season with an eight-day tour of India as official Bundesliga ambassadors. South Africa was chosen as the base for their winter camp due to its warm climate and because it is also on Central European Time. The lack of time difference allows for the possibility of night travel, which increases the amount of time the club will be able to spend on the training pitch.
"Packing in Zuzenhausen! Part of the #tsg luggage is being flown to South Africa today. Players and coaches follow tomorrow."