Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dallas Cup Super Group Preview TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Dallas Cup Super Group Preview TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
By Daniel Robertson

When looking at where German Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim was 10 years ago, it's an amazing story that they're even at the Super Group, much less a team that was top of the Bundesliga halfway through their inaugural Bundesliga season in 2008-2009. Just 10 years ago, Hoffenheim was a club in the 5th division of German football having never been much more than an obscure local side based in a suburb of Sinsheim, a city with a population under 40,000. With a backing from owner and computer software mogul Dietmar Hopp, Hoffenheim went through an incredible transformation gaining promotion 2 consecutive years in 2000 and 2001 before clearing their final hurdles in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons to gain promotion to the Bundesliga. Just as surprising as their rapid rise up the German footballing ladder was their success in their first Bundesliga season. Led by Vedad Ibisevic, a Bosnian who spent his high school and college years in the United States, Hoffenheim took the Bundesliga by storm winning the "herbstmeister" championship given to the top team heading into the winter break. Injuries and poor form caused 1899 to finish 7th that season, but the writing is on the wall that Hoffenheim is here to stay.

With their strong financial backing, 1899 has used a policy of buying exciting young talent from around the world like Brazilians Maicosuel and Carlos Eduardo as well as african forwards Chinedu Obasi and Demba Ba and mixed them with known veterans like Josip Simunic and Timo Hildebrand to create a perfect mix of experience and excitement. This youth movement extends all the way down the 1899 ladder as their youth teams have quickly become some of the best in Germany.

The U19 team Hoffenheim is bringing to Dallas Cup looks to be a strong side as they are the same team that two years ago won the 2008 U17 German Bundesliga championship beating Borussia Dortmund 6-4 in the final. While details beyond stats for the Hoffenheim U19's are scarce, one player on their provisional roster to look out for is German U18 International Pascal Gross. An 18 year old central midfielder, Gross is the only player on Hoffenheim with Bundesliga experience having made 4 appearances for 1899.

The U19's currently sit seventh in their league table ahead of fellow Dallas Cup side Eintracht Frankfurt and Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. The Hoffenheim attack is led in the midfield by Jonas Hofmann with 6 goals on the season and forward Sebastian Doro who also has scored 6 times. The defense is anchored by Timo Helfrich who has logged nearly every minute of Hoffenheim's league games at the back.

The German Dallas Cup debutants face a tough opening challenge against Chivas Guadalajara of Mexico at Pizza Hut Park field #7 at noon on Sunday before playing Cruzeiro of Brazil the following day at 4PM on the same field. They round out group play against CZ Elite of California at Richland College field #10 at 2PM on Wednesday.

Stay tuned to the Dallas Cup blog for the final four team previews(Tigres, Chelsea, USA and Mexico) as we count down the final 4 days leading up to the beginning of Dallas Cup XXXI at Pizza Hut Park on March 28!

Past Super Group Previews

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have great reviews!-Victor

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