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2018-19 Bundesliga Preview: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Are these guys still good?

1899 Hoffenheim Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The Bundesliga has had many surprise teams in recent seasons. Older, more traditional clubs have lost their power and been replaced by up and coming clubs. A prime example of one of these newer clubs performing well in Germany is TSG Hoffenheim. Young manager Julian Nagelsmann has often been the main focus of media when it comes to Hoffenheim, highlighting how such a young manager has taken the Bundesliga by storm, so to speak.

Last Season

Bundesliga: 3rd - 55 points (15-10-9)

DFB Pokal: Round of 16, 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen

Considering Hoffenheim’s roster at the time, a Round of 16 exit in the Pokal isn’t so bad, especially with the squad being in European competition as well, something new to the club. A 3rd place finish certainly had the club flexing its muscles in the face of other bigger clubs who severely underperformed, although it did come down to goal difference.

The Hoffenheim roster hasn’t significantly changed in any way, just a bunch of names moving around, so I don’t see why they can’t replicate last season’s form. Major transfers are the signing of Leonardo Bittencourt signing from relegated FC Köln, and Serge Gnabry returning to Bayern Munich after finishing his loan spell for Hoffenheim.

Transfers In

(Excluding loans)

Kasim Adams (CB) - BSC Young Boys - £7.2m

Leonardo Bittencourt (LW) - FC Köln - £5.4m

Vincenzo Grifo (LW) - Borussia Mönchengladbach - £4.95m

Ishak Belfodil (CF) - Standard Liège - £4.95m

Joshua Brenet (LB) - PSV Eindhoven - £3.15m

Transfers Out

(Excluding loans)

Benedikt Gimber (CB) - FC Ingolstadt - £900k

Marvin Schwäbe (GK) - Bröndby IF - £630k

Baris Atik (CAM) - Dynamo Dresden - £540k

Joshua Mees (LW) - Union Berlin - £450k

Mark Uth (CF) - FC Schalke 04 - Free transfer

Eugen Polanski (CDM) - Free agent

It’s also worth noting that manager Julian Nagelsmann will be leaving the club for RB Leipzig at the end of the season, a sort of pre-transfer that is so annoyingly common in the Bundesliga.

Don’t be surprised to see Hoffenheim lose some attacking bite with the loss of Serge Gnabry and Mark Uth. Bittencourt should be able to stop the bleeding, but the other players are going to have to step it up, namely Andrej Kramarić. I don’t know much about the other players, so I can’t realistically comment on those transfers.

What I will say, however, is that Hoffenheim under Julian Nagelsmann is a tactically versatile side, capable of deploying a 3-4-3 which can also easily switch to a back 5 line if necessary. Nagelsmann was a former pupil of Thomas Tuchel’s and it is now plain to see the influence there. Like I said earlier, there has been no major transfer activity at the time of writing, so there’s really no reason for Hoffenheim to do worse than last season. Perhaps they will give the Champions League some extra effort now that they are guaranteed a place in the competition rather than going out early in the qualifying stages.

Verdict: Hoffenheim will finish in 4th place, and pull an Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal, at least making it to the final. The Champions League will prove to be too difficult, however, and they will be knocked out in group stages.