A keenly awaited return

Alfred Schreuder is the new coach of the TSG Hoffenheim senior squad. The Dutchman, who previously worked as an assistant to Huub Stevens and Julian Nagelsmann, is returning to the Kraichgau club from Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, where he worked as head coach Erik ten Hag's number two. The players and supporters are eagerly anticipating the return of the 46-year-old, who has penned a deal in Hoffenheim until 2022.

The announcement that Alfred Schreuder was returning to TSG Hoffenheim as head coach surprised players and supporters alike. Nobody expected the Dutchman – previously assistant coach at the Kraichgau club between October 2015 and January 2018 – to be in the running. But when the appointment was announced, there was no hiding the excitement in the Hoffenheim camp about the prospect of the Ajax assistant's arrival. "He'll continue what Julian started. They certainly think similarly. We'll presumably play a similar style of football to Julian, perhaps we'll even improve. We have equally talented players as Ajax," said Nadiem Amiri, who previously worked with Schreuder in his first stint at the club. As did Andrej Kramaric, who has been impressed by the international successes Ajax have had. "I think the club made an outstanding decision in appointing Alfred Schreuder," said the Croatian frontman. "The fact that he worked as the assistant coach at Ajax will definitely have helped him. The lads there play phenomenal football. I know him personally and he's an excellent coach. Obviously, it'll be different, as he won't be the assistant coach any more. So it'll be interesting to see how he presents himself to the team. I'm convinced that we'll have a brilliant team next year too."

On their way to winning the domestic double in the Netherlands and achieving impressive success in the Champions League, where Ajax beat Real Madrid and Juventus, the Dutchman turned many Hoffenheim supporters into Ajax fans. Julian Nagelsmann, the executive management, players and fans were all crossing their fingers for him ahead of the semi-final meeting with Tottenham. There's no doubt that Schreuder played a key role in that European run. Dutch journalist and De Telegraaf columnist Valentijn Driessen summed up the 46-year-old's impact as follows: "Internally, he is often regarded as the main man on the training pitch. He's open to promoting youth from within and has a good relationship with young players. Tactically, too, Schreuder is important in Amsterdam and regularly conducts talks. A remarkable moment came in the group game away to Benfica: both Schreuder and head coach Erik ten Hag stood on the sidelines – but the Ajax players sought out the assistant for tactical tweaks."

Hoffenheim influence on the Ajax system

Schreuder himself has emphasised the Hoffenheim influence on the Ajax system – and in doing so has confirmed the expectations among the players that the philosophy and style will be just as attractive in the new season as it previously was under Julian Nagelsmann. "We designed a lot of sessions at Ajax similarly to Julian, in terms of weekly focal points and complex training forms. I have taken an incredible amount from the time with Julian – I obviously make use of that and let it help shape my philosophy."

Sporting director Alexander Rosen knows Schreuder well on a personal level and knows how he likes to operate on the training pitch from his first spell at TSG – and he is convinced of the former Feyenoord player's abilities. "Alfred knows our structures and the majority of the team. Furthermore, he has significantly contributed to the success of recent years with his outstanding expertise as well as his strategic, clear and communicative manner. Personally, I'm looking forward to a close and trusting cooperation that will serve to advance the team's development."

Schreuder excited for return

Schreuder is also eagerly anticipating returning to the club in a new role. "I'm now very keen to make my own mark as a head coach and to continue the recent success story. It goes without saying that it will be helpful that I already know the structures at the club as well as all the people working there. I grew to love not only TSG but also the entire region during my first stint, and I'm obviously now delighted that my family will be accompanying me."

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