TSG Hoffenheim are matching their unprecedented on-field success with achievements off the pitch too. Monday evening saw the club scoop up two prestigious prizes at the 2018 Rhine-Neckar Sports Awards in Heidelberg Town Hall, with coach Julian Nagelsmann winning the Best Coach category and the senior squad claiming the gong for Best Team.
The Hoffenheim representatives, dressed in smart attire at the lavish gala, expressed their gratitude at receiving the most important regional recognition. It's no small feat, especially given that 2,700 clubs comprising over 850,000 active sportspersons are based in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. "Many thanks to the jury, but above all for the great regional support. The award is an honour for me and my coaching stuff and an incentive to continue to work hard to achieve success," said TSG tactician Nagelsmann, who beat off competition from Nikolaj Jakobsen (Rhine-Neckar-Löwen) and Gerald Marzenell (Grün-Weiß Löwen) to win the award.
There was further cause for celebration a short while later as Nagelsmann saw two of his charges called up on stage. Captain Kevin Vogt and goalkeeper Oliver Baumann attended as representatives for the entire TSG squad and were presented with the Best Team award. "As a team, we're really delighted to receive this award and particularly about the fact that the whole region gets behind us and has had their fingers crossed for us. It fills us with pride that we achieved the best performance in TSG Hoffenheim's history last season and, by doing so, capped the development of a club that has been working meticulously in an innovative, courageous and responsible manner at all levels for years – both on and off the pitch. We're seeing the end result of a project whose foundations are laid in the academy and which is accompanied by an institution like Kick Into Life. This is of great importance, especially for the young people in the region," said Oliver Baumann and Kevin Vogt, who enjoyed the ceremony alongside approximately 700 guests from the fields of sport, politics and economics – among them sporting greats such as Eagles icon Marcel Goc, Olympic discus champion Lars Riedel, Olympic weightlifting champion Matthias Steiner and guest speakers Michael Herberger (co-founder of the Söhne Mannheims), former Germany international Christoph Metzelder and sports presenter Ulrike von der Gröben.
Other awards were announced over the course of the evening, with the jury voting for javelin thrower Andreas Hofman as Best Sportsman while long-jumper Malaika Mihambo took home the prize for Top Sportswoman for the second time (previously 2016).
The TSG President Peter Hofmann subsequently expressed thanks on behalf of TSG Hoffenheim for the two awards. "These honours serve as outstanding proof of our recognition in a Rhine-Neckar region which has an outstanding range of talented and top sportspersons. We also want to express our appreciation to the many strong financial backers and volunteer workers in the region, who create the basis for this sporting success in the clubs and work tirelessly on behalf of children and young people. The likes of our very own Dietmar Hopp, but it equally applies to every employee at our club, the academy and our partner Kick Into Life."
To round off the event, Heidelberg mayor Eckart Würzner expressly thanked Dietmar Hopp and the patrons of the region, whose financial contributions continually promote professional and mass sports and are key to the region's sporting achievements at both a national and international level.
All the winners at a glance:
- Best sportswoman: Malaika Mihambo – Long jump
- Best sportsman: Andreas Hofmann – Javelin
- Best coach: Julian Nagelsmann - TSG Hoffenheim
- Best team: TSG Hoffenheim
- Best talent (up to U23): Max Lemke – Canoe
- Best role model – Person: Horst Knop
- Best role model – Club: Judofighters Rhein-Neckar
- engelhorn sports' fan favourite: Fabienne Amrhein - Marathon
- Lifetime award: Manfred Lautenschläger