Continuing to add to their growing squad ahead of the crucial 2017/18 campaign, Hoffenheim’s ranks have recently swelled with Scandinavian defender Havard Nordtveit joining Justin Hoogma and Florian Grillitsch at the Sinsheim-based club.
Snapped up by Hoffenheim from English Premier League outfit West Ham United, Norway international Nordtveit is no stranger to the Bundesliga, the 27-year-old having previously been a central figure at Borussia Mönchengladbach for six seasons. The versatile defender’s arrival at Julian Nagelsmann’s outfit ensures some much-needed defensive solidity for last season’s fourth-place Bundesliga finishers.
Following the departures of Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle to Bayern Munich and with Pirmin Schwegler making a move to newly-promoted Hannover, the Hoffenheim hierarchy were obliged to find reinforcements. And all-round defender Nordtveit appears to fit the bill nicely for Nagelsmann. “He is ideal for a central role in a back three or a back four and can also play in defensive midfield with plenty of quality,” last season’s star tactician said.
Once on the books at Arsenal, Nordtveit’s focused approach and highly-competitive, on-field nature has won him many plaudits in the game. “This signing represents much more than a sporting reinforcement for us,” Hoffenheim director of football, Alexander Rosen, explained. “Havard is also a real personality off the pitch,” Rosen added of the positive influence he expects the new signing to have in the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena dressing room next term.
Watch: Hoffenheim's tactical masterclass in 2016/17
After 19 games with Nuremberg in 2009/10 and a further 152 top-flight matches for Gladbach between 2011 and 2016, Nordtveit is more than well-versed on what to expect in the Bundesliga.
Admitting that his time in England with West Ham was “not an optimal” experience, the Norwegian said he will be seeking to emulate his successful performances at Gladbach when he dons Hoffenheim’s colours next term. “Obviously I know the Bundesliga well after my years in Mönchengladbach and I am sure that I will be able to deliver the performances Hoffenheim expect of me,” Nordtveit said.
The Norwegian formed part of the Gladbach side that went from relegation candidates to UEFA Champions League participants during recent times. He featured 18 times in European competition for the Foals and is now one of only a handful of Hoffenheim players who can boast international experience. Boasting 32 senior international caps for Norway, Nordtveit was even named captain in the recent friendly against Sweden.
Following the significant losses represented by the outgoing Rudy and Süle, it remains to be seen whether Nordtveit can prove a successful replacement for either player. However, after bringing in the likes of midfielder Grillitsch from Werder Bremen and Heracles’s Hoogma, Hoffenheim are showing their fighting intent ahead of what will be a monumental season in Sinsheim.