TSG Hoffenheim scouting report: New chapter with familiar face
After an eventful 2018/19 season, it’s been all change at Hoffenheim over the summer, with key players leaving and a new man in the dugout.
Recent weeks have not yielded many new findings about Hoffenheim in comparison to last season. In their final pre-season friendly against Sevilla, new coach Alfred Schreuder switched between the tried and tested 3-5-2/3-4-3 formation and a 4-3-3 variation. It’s also been clear that there’ll be little change to their bold, flowing style of football. TSG even set a new record of 489 passes played during their DFB Cup tie at Würzburger Kickers, the highest figure for a first-round match in the competition since records began. However, as was the case against Sevilla, Schreuder’s side couldn’t quite strike the right balance between good football and efficiency, and in the end they scraped through into the second round on penalties having twice squandered a lead at 2-0 and 3-2.
Schreuder has succeeded Julian Nagelsmann, who left to take over at RB Leipzig. The Dutchman already knows Hoffenheim well from his time as assistant coach between 2015 and 2017, initially under Huub Stevens and then under Nagelsmann, whose shoes he now steps into. Last season, the 46-year-old reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League as assistant at Ajax, and he also had a stint as head coach of FC Twente. When it comes to tactics, Schreuder favours a 3-5-2 system.
One to watch: Sebastian Rudy
After the departures of Kerem Demirbay and Nadiem Amiri over the summer, Sebastian Rudy has a good chance to nail down a regular starting spot in central midfield. The 29-year-old played all 120 minutes in defensive midfield in the win at Würzburg and provided the assist for the goal that put Hoffenheim 2-0 up. The Schalke 04 loanee has returned to his former club hoping to replicate the successful seven years he had there, during which he blossomed into a Germany international. Rudy has made 27 appearances for the national team – the last of which came at the 2018 FIFA World Cup – and he’s not giving up hope of a return.