Luca Philipp, 19 years of age, has been training with the first-team squad since the Coronavirus-imposed interruption of the Bundesliga. The 1.92 metres tall goalkeeper first joined TSG Hoffenheim at 12 years of age and is now looking forward to starting pre-season preparations with the first team on Sunday. The announcement of Philipp's promotion comes shortly after another young goalkeeper, 19-year-old Daniel Klein, signed a professional contract binding him to the club until June 2022. Klein, who has also been involved in first-team training, is currently recovering from a serious hand injury and will first join the U23s before gradually being integrated into the senior set-up.
''We are continuing to pursue our policy of promoting young players from the academy into the first-team squad,'' says TSG director of football Alexander Rosen, going on to add: ''In addition to experienced goalkeepers like Oliver Baumann and Philipp Pentke, we also have several talented young players on the brink of making a breakthrough. In addition to Philipp and Klein, Domen Gril and Nahuel Noll are also on track to make the step up to the first team at some point in the future.''
The announcement comes after the recent departure of two goalkeepers: 22-year-old Gregor Kobel, who has joined VfB Stuttgart, and 32-year-old Michael Esser. 36-year-old Alexander Stolz, a back-up goalkeeper in the first-team squad for a number of years, dropped down to join the U23 Regionalliga squad earlier in the summer. Stolz will combine his duties in the U23s with a role as a goalkeeping coach in the TSG Academy.