2022-23 Report Cards: Hoffenheim

In the end it was way too close for comfort for Hoffenheim as they toyed with relegation for too long and in the end their league position of twelfth didn’t quite show just how close to the drop they came.

It was meant to be a new start under Andre Breitenreiter following the decision to jettison Sebastian Hoeneß after two underwhelming season. The search for the right man to finally lay the ghost of Julian Nagelsmann continued, but the season start was actually quite positive. An opening day loss to Gladbach was answered with three successive wins (Bochum, Leverkusen, and Augsburg) before a defeat at Dortmund and win over Mainz. Twelve points from six games was a far from shabby beginning.

There would however be just one more win before the Winterpause with a rune of four defeats and draw before the league paused for the World Cup. The restart in February just saw a continuation of the negative series and when they began the New Year with just one point from four games, Breitenreiter paid the price with his job, Pellegrino Matarazzo (fired earlier in the season by Stuttgart) took over, but he was unable to stop the rot.

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He lost his first five Bundesliga games in charge meaning that overall the club were on a 14-match winless streak. Rumour had it that the matchday 25 clash with relegation-threatened Hertha was make or break for Matarazzo with his job on the line after just a very short time with Hoffenheim sitting rock bottom of the table with just ten games remaining.

The relegation six-pointer was duly won to stop the rot with two Andrej Kramaric penalties helping to beat the Alte Dame 3-1. Werder and Schalke were then beaten in the next two games, but the trouble wasn’t over with a respectable draw against Bayern followed by losses to Köln and RB Leipzig.

In the end wins over Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 31 and Union Berlin on matchday 33 meant that they travelled to Stuttgart on the final day safe from the drop and not having to face a make-or-break final day clash.

Survival was achieved, but for a large chunk of the campaign Hoffenheim were the worst team in the division and a 14-match winless run is a scar that will take a while to heal. The drop came perilously close and its an experience that the club will not want to repeat. If that is to be the case, then a new injection of investment in the playing squad is going to be needed.


Achieving survival was the ultimate highlight when it really did look like TSG’s time might be up. The 4-1 win over Mainz early in the season was a good one and the 1-1 draw achieved at the Allianz Arena was an unexpected bonus at the end of a three-match winning streak under Matarazzo. Other highlights were few and far between.

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The low point in the season was sitting rock bottom of the table with just ten games left having just gone winless in fourteen games. The appointment of Pellegrino Matarazzo didn’t seem to have any effect on the decline. The 5-2 loss away at Bochum was probably the low point in that run. There was also a bad defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-1).

Tale of the Tape

Record: 10-6-18, 36 points (1.06 per game), 12th in Bundesliga

Home Record: 23 points (7-2-8) Away Record: 13 points (3-4-10)

Goals: 48 (1.41 per game), Goals Against: 57 (1.68 per game), Diff: -9

xG: 48.0, xGA: 51.1, Diff: -3.1


The sale of Georginio Rutter was a blow to the attacking line, but it was once again veteran Andrej Kramaric, who took on the goalscoring burden. He was the top scorer with twelve, while Baumgartner scored seven with Ihlas Bebou also getting seven. Munas Dabbur bagged six but January arrival Kasper Dolberg was a let down with just one scored.

The 48 goals scored was ten fewer than the previous season and the over-reliance on Kramaric cannot go on forever.

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Oliver Bauman was once again an ever-present in goal and was a busy man this season as Hoffenheim conceded 57 goals. A back three was the preferred defensive line in either a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-1-2 formation. Kevin Vogt led the line and finding two regular partners saw Ozan Kabak and Kevin Akpoguma taking the roles. There was also attempts with Stanley Nsoki and John Brooks in the second half of the season, but keeping clean sheets was an issue this season with just five shutouts all season.

Angelino, Pavel Kaderabek and Robert Skov occupied the wingback roles, but the loss of David Raum was certainly felt even if he didn’t have the same impact at Leipzig.


Denis Geiger, Christophe Baumgartner and Grischa Prömel were key men in midfield although the latter missed a large part of the season through injury, which robbed the side of much needed dynamism. Angelo Stiller, Sebastian Rudy and Thomas Delaney were all used as back-ups but the latter two disappointed are pale shades of their former selves.

Transfer Review

Hoffenheim’s transfer business was moderate last summer with two players costing a fee and a few loans and frees adding to squad. The biggest outlay was the €12 million paid to Bruges for defender Stanley Nsoki. He had an average season, but didn’t command the backline as was the intention. Ozan Kabak was signed for €7 million after a journeyman existence over the past few seasons. The one-time Liverpool defender did a good job for TSG this season.

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One of the best pieces of business was the free signing of midfielder Grischa Prömel from Union Berlin and he was very impressive in the first half of the season before injury took him out for the whole of the Rückrunde. Fullback Angelino came in from RB Leipzig on loan as part of the deal that saw David Raum depart for Saxony. He was a key player, but one that the club won’t be able to afford to keep. Finn Ole Becker was signed on a free from St. Pauli while defender Eduardo Quaresma arrived on loan from Sporting in Portugal.

The winter transfer window saw central defender John Anthony Brooks signed for 300,000 from Benfica, while loan moves were secured for striker Kasper Dolberg (Nice) and midfielder Thomas Delaney (Sevilla). The latter two were unable to really show their quality however.

Player of the Season

Cometh the hour, cometh the man as they say and in Hoffenheim’s hour of need their talismanic striker Andrej Kramaric delivered the goods. The Croatian scored a brace in the all-important win over Hertha Berlin and then added five more in the tense run-in to help secure safety. He scored twelve across the whole season to once again finish as the club’s top scorer and added four assists as well.


Hoffenheim need to regenerate their squad and in 17-year-old Tom Bischof, they have a young talent who they can build around. After making his debut as a sub at the tail end of last season, the teenage midfielder made eleven appearances this season with three of them coming as a starter. He will be on the radar of many clubs already, but developing at Hoffenheim should be his immediate priority.

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Grade: D-

Hoffenheim were involved in the relegation dogfight for much longer than they would have liked and came very close to ending their association with the top flight. Andre Breitenreiter started well (-ish), but the 14-match winless streak was terrible period and the decline seemed terminal. Survival was achieved but lessons need to be learned if a repeat is not to be on the cards.

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball