Back in the year 2000 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were playing in the Verbandsliga; German footballs fifth tier as an amateur side. Now the team are in the Bundesliga via a true rags to riches story that has divided German football over the years.
It was the finances of software entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp that brought the team their success in recent years and saw the likes of Demba Ba, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ryan Babel playing for the club based on the foundations of a village in Baden-Wurttemberg.
After five memorable seasons in the German top-flight it seems that the experiment is about to hit its first major snag in 13 years of operation; Hoffenheim seem destined for relegation in this year’s Bundesliga.
The bottom three teams are well adrift of Fortuna Dusseldorf in 15th position and while they may have a chance of staying up should they usurp FC Augsburg into 16th spot they would have to do so by winning their Relegation-Promotion play off; which is most likely to be against Kaiserslautern or FC Koln.
With Hopp restricting the hand-outs amid the clubs huge financial losses there time in the Bundesliga seems to be heading toward an inevitable endgame; but could any of their players be on the way to the Premier League?
When a youngster at FC Basel Premier League clubs were scrambling for striker Eren Derdiyok so he could certainly be a transfer target. However his form this season has been poor and he has been relegated to the reserves so his purchase would be something of a gamble.
His situation is similar to German international goalkeeper Tim Wiese. He lost his place to Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes when the Brazilian arrived on loan and has since been forced to train on his own, but remains a very capable stopper.
Andreas Beck was a transfer target for Juventus last summer and the pacy German international right-back would be a perfect match for the Premier League if Hoffenheim were in a position to sell in the event of relegation.
The list certainly does not stop there. Spanish striker Joselu and German international Tobias Weis will also gain plenty of attention in the summer.
So who would you like your side to steal from Hoffenheim this summer?
image: © tjuel