Rosen: "We're working to further TSG's development"

The wait is almost over. On Saturday (24 August, 15:30 CET), TSG Hoffenheim will play their inaugural home game of the new Bundesliga season. The statistics certainly suggest their clash with an ambitious SV Werder Bremen side could be an entertaining one: the previous 22 Bundesliga meetings with the Green & Whites – both home and away – have produced 73 goals in total, an average of 3.3 per game.

Alexander Rosen, even for the director of football, surely the first home game of the season is always a special occasion?

"Certainly. I'm looking forward to the home debut, the stadium and our fans. The support in the DFB Cup in Würzburg and in our opening Bundesliga match in Frankfurt was really strong, with around 1,500 fans at each. Now, with our fans behind us, we want to produce an exciting display at home, with some brave and attacking football."

The 1-0 defeat to Eintracht was unlucky, because the team increasingly found their way into the game following Frankfurt's strong start and the goal after 36 seconds. In the end, however, we didn't get our reward due to the two disallowed goals.

"It's important to analyse it a bit more deeply. We were playing against a strong and well-trained opponent that went into the game against us with no injury worries; and yet we produced a positive performance, even if the result was obviously not the one that we and our supporters had been hoping for. However, we have to acknowledge that without Andrej Kramarić, Benni Hübner and Flo Grillitsch, who were all out with injury problems, we were missing an important axis of our team, and Ishak Belfodil wasn't back to 100 percent either following his cruciate ligament injury. Between them, Belfo und Andrej scored 33 goals for Hoffenheim last term. That makes them the second highest-scoring strike partnership in the league behind Reus and Alcácer of Dortmund. Everyone surely knows that neither we nor any other Bundesliga club can replace this quality one for one at such short notice. Even Bayern Munich cannot replace a Lewandowski with a Lewandowski. As a result, we had several fundamental changes to our starting line-up compared to the final matchday of last season."

"Change" is a good key word there: the transfer period is drawing to an end with the summer window set to close on 2 September, so does that also mean that an intense period will be over for you?

"Every season brings changes; that applies to everyone in the league and so there's no real reason to complain about the intensity of the work. On the contrary, we shall remain active, as ambitious as ever and focused on the tasks that lie ahead of us. But we can also assess the situation in a realistic and factual manner. Similarly to the previous years, we've stayed true to our principles and our philosophy during this transfer period and we've done so with absolute conviction. It has previously been precisely this trend of signing young, hungry, talented players with the potential for further development that has consistently enabled us to present our fans with passionate teams. Players have frequently joined us who relatively few people rated until they had been promoted and developed by us. I'm thinking about the likes of Firmino, Volland, Uth, Demirbay, Joelinton and many others. Nobody arrived at TSG as a star, but their departures have regularly seen almost doomsday-level scenarios conjured up in the media."

When they were signed by the club, the likes of Demirbay or Schulz were not really regarded as improvements by the public but now they're missed.

"Yes, I sometimes do have a little laugh about that. That hasn't just been the case for Nico and Kerem, but for numerous other new signings too. But it should serve as a source of comfort to those who are furrowing their brows following the departures of Joelinton, Schulz and Demirbay (laughs). The daily work that we do here in terms of identifying and promoting talented youngsters is a fundamental aspect of the TSG Hoffenheim philosophy; in other words, it's in our DNA. That's what we're about. That's the job that our patron Dietmar Hopp has given us. To invest in development, to look more deeply and to develop players; this patience, this time and this mission is something only few have but we do. And when I see how the new coaching staff led by Alfred Schreuder and the new team are working with such focus and concentration, training intensively and interacting with each other, it's a joy to see."

So you won't let yourself be drawn into stating higher goals?

"That's not something I've ever done externally, and I don't see any valid reason why it should be in the club's interests to change this now or in the future. Rather, it is the responsibility of myself and the managing directors Peter Görlich and Frank Briel to consistently outline the objectives that we have for each competition on an annual basis, which are characterised by increasingly high standards but not always by the same financial conditions. However, there are other things in our favour: TSG have recently experienced some exciting and successful years on a sporting level, we're developing more of our own talents than any other club and we're earning more income from transfers than the majority of other clubs. Things are running smoothly on all levels; we're growing in moderation and consistently. This has brought us a lot of praise and attention. But it's also clear that some degree of form fluctation is part of sport, as last season in particular showed us. But even when we weren't able to win for nine games in a row, we continued to work calmly. That's our approach and we shall pursue this path purposefully and without deviation: we're working fastidiously and ambitiously to further TSG's development."

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