The first friendly of the season is approaching: on Saturday (17:30 CET), André Breitenreiter will take his place in the TSG Hoffenheim dugout for the first time. His side will be facing Regionalliga outfit FC-Astoria Walldorf in their first friendly ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and will be hoping to lay the foundations for a successful season.
It will also be a chance for TSG Hoffenheim to play in front of local fans. There are less than 20 kilometres between Zuzenhausen and the Dietmar-Hopp-Sportpark in Walldorf. But the connection now goes beyond a purely neighbourly relationship: since 2018, there has been an official cooperation between the two clubs.
The clash with Walldorf will not only be the first taste of action for André Breitenreiter in what will hopefully be a successful season; it will also be the first opportunity to see new signings Finn Ole Becker and Grischa Prömel in a TSG shirt. Prömel is returning to the Kraichgau after seven years away, during which he played for Karlsruher SC and Union Berlin. TSG is the second professional club Becker has played for, having progressed from the FC. St Pauli youth ranks to the first team.
FC-Astoria Walldorf have already proven on several occasions in the past that they can be a difficult opponent to face. In the 2016/17 season, the side from Walldorf caused a stir in the DFB-Pokal when coach Matthias Born's team knocked out then Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt before eliminating VfL Bochum. It was only in the round of 16 that FC-Astoria lost out to Arminia Bielefeld on penalties. Walldorf are about to enter their ninth consecutive season in the Regionalliga Südwest, having finished last term in 10th place in the table.
Tickets for the match can be bought here. There will also be another opportunity to see TSG live before they depart for their training camp in Kitzbühel: on 9 July (15:30 CET), André Breitenreiter's team will be in Brackenheim to take on second-tier 1. FC Heidenheim.