Florian Grillitsch: From Goethe to goals

“All beginnings are tough,” writes Goethe and Hesse is sure that “every beginning is delightful.” In the case of TSG Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch, he believes the pendulum of truth swings more towards Goethe. As the Austrian international last summer moved to the club thirsty for action,, he was set back in pre-season due to injury. It’s taken him longer to adapt than he’d hoped and the first half of the season wasn’t how he envisaged as he went eight games without featuring in the Bundesliga. However, now times have changed. Grillitsch is now a key component in TSG’s side.

In the 13 games of the Rückrunde so far, the Austrian international has been a mainstay in the side and has impressed. His performance against Hamburger SV saw him enter Kicker’s Team of the Week. Grillitsch was delighted to receive the accolade but sees the praise from his head coach and teammates to be even more valuable. “I’m very happy to receive recognition for my recent performances,” said Grillitsch who doesn’t seek out to win such individual awards. “Usually, I’m told about these sort of things by my friends,” he reported.

However, head coach Julian Nagelsmann and his coaching staff didn’t see the game in as positive a light as the editors at kicker. “We analysed the game against Hamburg and realised that we have to do much better in Leipzig,” said the 22-year-old who has improved as the season has gone on. The main reason behind Florian’s development has been one man in particular: Julian Nagelsmann. “Julian clearly told me how I could improve and how football is won and lost off the ball as well as on it. I took that on board and have tried to improve.” Grillitsch sees himself to be on a good path but has a long way still to go. “I’ve received a lot of game time recently and have regained my confidence. That’s very important. I’m rarely fully satisfied with how I’ve played and am always trying to improve. I want to keep playing and putting in performances so the team are successful.”

Heading to Leipzig with confidence

Grillitsch is able to analyse himself and claims that: “I’ll never become a great battler and general in the midfield but I give my all in defence for the team” He’ll need to do that again on Saturday as TSG take on RB Leipzig. “It’s an important game,” added Grillitsch on the clash between sixth and fourth in the Bundesliga table. “We’re against a direct rival for a place in the European spots”. Grillitsch has noted the fact that Leipzig aren’t currently playing to the high standards they set themselves last season. “Leipzig aren’t quite firing on all cylinders but they are a top side with serious quality. They can hurt you at anytime and we’ll have to be at our best to win.”

There are plenty of reasons for Hoffenheim to be confident heading into their clash with “Die Roten Bullen”. “We’re unbeaten in our last seven games and are feeling good about ourselves. We know what we’re capable of and having those wins behind us give us self-belief” and also “we have found memories of the reverse fixture” in which TSG ran out 4-0 winners. “It was a while ago but there are still things to take from that game. We know if we can find space we can hurt Leipzig”. 

With another strong team performance, three points is possible once again in Leipzig which, in Grillitsch’s eyes, would be the springboard for a successful finish to the season. “Four wins would be a great way to end the season,” remarked Grillitsch who is taking each game as it comes. “We want to be as successful as we can be until the end of the season and hopefully qualify for Europe. The higher up the table we finish the better.” Should TSG win their final four fixtures, Grillitsch will be able to fully eradicate the start of the season and simply state: “All’s well that ends well.”

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