Those predicting doom and gloom for Hoffenheim following the defections of Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy to Bayern Munich in the summer are being forced to eat their words – by a 19-year-old whose name translates as the violinist.
Dennis Geiger has latched on to the legacy left by two seemingly irreplaceable stars of Hoffenheim's extraordinary rise from the relegation zone to UEFA Champions League qualification, as another gem emerges from the Sinsheim-based club's production line.
"I've known him a while already and coached him in the youth team," said coach Julian Nagelsmann, whose apparent gamble in giving Geiger his Bundesliga debut this season has looked more like a calculated risk which has added up nicely. "He's an extraordinarily good footballer and I'm delighted for him. You could see the emotions flooding out after his goal."
Nagelsmann got to know Geiger, who joined Hoffenheim's youth academy when he was just 11, when he was in charge of the Baden-Württemberg club's under-19s. It was the confident, almost cocky central midfielder's performances which had a major influence on Hoffenheim winning the South/Southwest under-19 championship for a third year running in 2016.
Nagelsmann did not forget Geiger when he was promoted to the head coach position, however, and after securing the club's Bundesliga status after his first few months in charge, he gave the then 18-year-old his first opportunity to train with the first team. One year on and now Geiger is not only training with the first team, he is an integral part of it.