Tohumcu & Che promoted to first-team squad

Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim are integrating two more talented youngsters into the first-team squad on a fixed basis. Umut Tohumcu, 18, and Justin Che, 19, who have both recently played for the U23s, will now be permanent fixtures in head coach André Breitenreiter's squad.

"Umut and Justin have drawn attention to themselves with consistently good performances in the U23s and, importantly, throughout the winter preparations and the training camp, and they absolutely deserve this move," said Breitenreiter, adding: "We always keep our eyes open for this kind of development. What makes it all the more pleasing for me is that TSG's philosophy, which also fits in with my own as a coach, is being brought to life here." 

In addition to regular appearances in the U23 squad, both Tohumcu and Che have already had their first taste of Bundesliga action. Che debuted in TSG's away game against Hertha BSC in March 2022, while Umut Tohumcu made his Bundesliga bow in Mönchengladbach on Matchday 34 of last season. 

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"These decisions demonstrate our approach, which we shall continue to pursue consistently and with full conviction. It was, is and shall remain a fundamental part of our identity to develop young players in what is an almost perfect environment for talented youngsters and to prepare them for professional football in the long term," explained Alexander Rosen. "The different developmental paths of both players underline how individually each youngster develops and how complex it is to get the timing right in this process, while taking all the key parameters into account," added TSG's director of football, before pointing out that this "strategy we have always lived by" is even more key in these economically challenging times.

Umut Tohumcu has been lacing his boots for TSG since the summer of 2017 and has represented every youth team up to the U23s. The current captain of Germany's U19 national team has a contract with TSG Hoffenheim until 30 June 2026. As for US U20 international Justin Che, who has been in the Kraichgau since January 2022 and is on loan from FC Dallas until 30 June 2023, TSG Hoffenheim have a purchase option for the player.

"For us, it is the best compliment and a vindication of our everyday work when young players from the academy take this step and start the process of finding their feet in the first-team squad," said a delighted Jens Rasiejewski, head of the TSG Academy. "It's precisely for this kind of development that numerous coaches, staff and experts work with passion and great dedication on a daily basis, in order to give the players as much as possible and everything they need for their future careers."

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