Saturday, 1 August 2015

Superside TSG 1899 Hoffenheim will be tough test for Cherries

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is not a club that instantly comes to mind for most UK fans when they think of German football teams. Man City have perhaps helped put them on the map this summer with their interest in Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino. Hoffeheim are a typical mid-table Bundesliga side - they are a bit descent - finishing eighth last season. That was only two points behind Borussia Dortmund and four points behind FC Shalke 04.

The Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena has 21,000 seats and 9150 standing places which creates a vibrant atmosphere in a stadium that was only completed as recently as 2009. Their manager is Markus Grisdol signed a two-year extension to his contract last May, which will take him to the summer of 2018. He appears to be a disciplinarian but it has been effective for TSG Hoffenheim. 

The teams rise is not dissimilar to that of AFC Bournemouth, because in 2001 they were in the third tier of German football and they only needed a season in the second-tier before winning promotion to the Bundesliga. they had been financed by Dietmar Hopp who made his fortune as a founder of the corporate SAP software giant. Four promotions in 10 years should have made them everyone's favourite second team but here is a lesson to the Cherries - they are the most hated team in German football! 

Sudden success is not what the Germans feel comfortable with. Not everyone likes a winner with no history. Located near to the town of Heidelberg the local area is more famous for cement production than football. What cannot be denied though is that TSG Hoffenheim have done well and they are a model that the Cherries can learn a lot from. They've played the Byern Munich's and Bayer Leverkusen and survived.

Playing lower league teams will have certainly boosted confidence in pre-season for TSG Hoffenheim. They started off early in July by hammering SPVgg Baiertal of the Kriesliga Heidelberg (one of the bottom German leagues)16-0. Steven Zuber netted five for Hoffenheim on that occasion. FC Zuzenhausen of the Verbandsliga Baden (a sixth tier German league) also got spanked on 12 July 14-0 by Hoffenheim. TSG 62/09 Weinham of Verbansliga Baden (the sixth tier German league) were the next casualties on 18 July, when Hoffernheim and ran out 15-1 winners! I expect eddie Howe has already noted Sven Shipplock as a player that AFCB will have to cage, because he scored five in that match. I was pleased to see that Norweigan team Lillistrom SK put up a bit more resistance on 21 July when their match with Hoffenheim finished 1-1.

Next up it's the Cherries and beating a Bundesliga side is something that I am sure Eddie Howe and the players would like to add to their CVs.

Probable AFCB team: Boruc (GK), Smith (RD), Cook (CB), Elphick (CD), Mings (LD), Ritchie (RM), Gosling (CM), MacDonald (CM), Stanislas (LM), King (FW), Wilson (FW)

Send in Your Score Predictions for this afternoon's game to @PeterBell19

Update: Sheffield Wednesday are believed to be behind the non-appearance of Kenwyne Jones of Cardiff City last night. Jones missed the game as the Owls are considering taking him on a season-long loan so Kenwyne was rested and did not get the chance to reunite with his former team mates at AFCB.

Cherry Chimes' August Newsletter is out today. The season opening Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them over the last month, when Cherries Chimes had a record 36,000 views, plus a special Newsletter article entitled Can it get better than this?

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