Ryan O’Grady - waving the TSG flag in Northern Ireland

For four years, 19-year-old Ryan O’Grady from Northern Ireland has worn the Hoffenheim crest with pride. He is a TSG fan through and through and visited Kraichgau for the fifth time last weekend.

Ryan stood in the stands in his blue and white strip for both the Bundesliga game in Darmstadt and for the U23s game which they lost 3-2 against FC Astoria Walldorf at the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion. Although he was hoping for a win in Darmstadt, Ryan was delighted with the atmosphere in the away end. The Akademiker fan club took him with them to Darmstadt’s stadium, the Böllenfalltor. He very much liked the ground and its olden-days charm. He described it as "very old-fashioned".

Ryan used to be a fan of Manchester United. “I found it boring. Back then, United would win the Premier League almost every year." When Ryan was 14, he read about Hoffenheim’s rise from amateur football to the Bundesliga in football magazine “Four-Four-Two”, and he suddenly took a liking to them. "After reading about them I was obsessed with Hoffenheim." On FIFA he would only play with TSG and got to know the players better that way.

“My friends think I’m crazy”

The Aberdeen University engineering student remembers his first game in October 2011 as a 1-1 draw against Kaiserslautern at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. Ryan says that his heroes of the time were either Demba Ba or Chinedu Obasi.

After his first game he became a devoted Hoffenheim fan. "My friends think I’m crazy. They are all either Chelsea or Man Utd fans. I have tried to convert them to TSG fans, but I have been unsuccessful so far," laughed Ryan.

To get to see his team, Ryan had to get a bus from his home town, Banbridge, to Dublin and then get a plane to Frankfurt. He stayed in a hotel there for just under a week with his father. "He loves German beer," says Ryan.

Favourite player Eugen Polanski

When he is not able to make it to games, Ryan follows live streams on the internet. "I always make time for Hoffenheim," he said. He also watches the highlights of the U23s’ games on

Because his once heroes, Ba and Obasi, no longer play for TSG, Ryan has a new favourite player: Eugen Polanski. The Polish midfielder is renowned for his strength, perseverance and charisma on the pitch, or as Ryan puts it, "he doesn’t take no for an answer!"

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