Season preview: Nagelsmann, Gnabry and Hoffenheim's recipe for success
Hoffenheim finished fourth in the Bundesliga standings last season, but how will they cope with the added workload of playing European football in 2017/18?
bundesliga.com weighs up Die Kraichgauer‘s prospects…
Transfer ins and outs
After losing Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy to Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim have found a handful of more than capable replacements in defensive all-rounder Havard Nordtveit (West Ham), 19-year-old Dutch defender Justin Hoogma (Heracles), left-back Nico Schulz (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Austrian midfield duo Florian Grillitsch (Werder Bremen) and Robert Zulj (Greuther Fürth).
Julian Nagelsmann has made no secret of his desire to use Nordtveit in the Süle role at the heart of the defence, but the midfield could still see some tinkering, especially with Bayern loanee Serge Gnabry to factor into the equation in the final third.
Watch: Hoffenheim’s top 10 goals in 2016/17
Hoffenheim’s squad has swelled, but the brains behind the operation remain the same.
Thirty-year-old Nagelsmann has his players all singing from the same high-pressing, counter-attacking hymn sheet and – with Hoffenheim unbeaten on home soil in 2016/17 – has turned the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena into a veritable fortress.
After witnessing Germany’s Coach of the Year save the club’s proverbial bacon one year and mastermind a top-four finish the next, Hoffenheim fans are daring to dream the impossible dream.
Watch: Nagelsmann the touchline prodigy
The collective spirit already in place, the arrival of Gnabry on a season-long loan deal brings a touch of star quality to the Hoffenheim ranks.
Scorer of 11 goals for Bremen last season and a recently crowned UEFA Under-21 European champion, the 22-year-old Germany international’s pace in the wide areas will be a real boon for Hoffenheim in the transition, and opens the door to a potentially frightening forward line alongside existing cast members Sandro Wagner and Andrej Kramaric.
Watch: Serge Gnabry’s top five Bundesliga goals
A trip to Liverpool to determine whether Hoffenheim will be playing UEFA Champions League or Europa League football follows their Bundesliga opener at home to Bremen. Defending champions Bayern head to Sinsheim as early as Matchday 3, still smarting from their last visit – a 1-0 defeat.
Stadium – WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena
Quiz: Think you know Hoffenheim? Take the test!