TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM
Founded: Jul 1, 1899
Club Members: 11,000
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Captain: Oliver Baumann
Landespokal Baden Winner: 4
Formed in 1945 following a merger between football and gymnastic clubs, TSG Hoffenheim 1899 were until very recently an obscure amateur side representing a village of just 3,000 inhabitants in the lower reaches of German football. That all began to change in 2000 when multi-billionaire and life-long Hoffenheim fan Dietmar Hopp became owner and started using his considerable financial clout to turn around the club's fortunes.
His spending brought immediate results with promotion to the fourth division Oberliga Baden-Wüttemburg secured in 2000, followed by promotion to the third-tier Regionalliga Süd in 2001. Bankrolled by Hopp, it wasn't long either before Hoffenheim were reaching the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal - beating Bayer Leverkusen of the Bundesliga along the way.
After negotiations to merge Hoffenheim with local clubs Astoria Waldorf and SV Sandhausen fell through in 2006, Hopp sanctioned the signing of players with Bundesliga experience and brought in the well-known figure of Ralf Rangnick to blend them into a winning team. The heavy investment paid off as 'Hopp-enheim' won promotion to Bundesliga.2 in 2007, and a year later - just 10 years after playing in the sixth tier - they became a Bundesliga club after a second-place finish earned them another promotion. Although they came close to relegation in 2013 and 2016, Hoffenheim have otherwise established themselves in the top division; and after rising managerial star Julian Nagelsmann guided them to a third-place finish in the 2017-18 season, they made their Champions League bow the following season.
The story of how an owner pushed his childhood club all the way to the top might seem like a fairy tale, but it's not a view shared by many German fans who view themselves as the guardians of true football culture. Accusations of being an artificial construct that embodies 'modern football' follow Hoffenheim wherever they play and many feel that the club's ownership model goes against the spirit of the 50+1 rule intended to prevent individuals acquiring majority stakes in football clubs like they do elsewhere in Europe. In 2011, a Hoffenheim employee admitted using a sound machine through the PA to drown out Dortmund's away fans whose chants were made against the owner and Anti-Hopp banners have been seen and chants heard at matches between the two clubs ever since. In February 2020 matches were delayed or interrupted across Germany by fans protesting that the village club's place in the Bundesliga owes more to financial doping than any sporting merit achieved on the pitch.
Ground Name: PreZero Arena
Architect: agn Niederberghaus & Partner
Built: 2007 - 2009
Year Opened: 2009
Capacity: 30,150 (6,750 standing)
Record Attendance: 30,150 (2016)
Executive Boxes: 40
Executive Box Seats: 1.364
Wheelchair Spaces: 40
Construction Costs: €63.6m
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Floodlights: 2,000 lux
LED Video Screens: 58m² x 2
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Dietmar Hopp Stadion (1999 - 2008)
Carl Benz Stadion (2008 - 2009)
Rhein Neckar Arena (2009 - 2019)
PreZero Arena (2019 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Built at a cost of €60 million to keep pace with Hoffenheim's meteoric rise through the leagues, the PreZero Arena opened in 2009. The original plan was to build the arena near the beautiful university town of Heidelberg before planning permissions were knocked back. Another plan to build it in nearby Eppelheim was also rejected before work on the stadium began on the current site at Sinsheim (not in Hoffenheim itself) next to the A6 autobahn. Built in just 22 months, during which Hoffenheim played their 'home' matches at the Carl Benz Stadion in Mannheim, the new arena (originally named Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena) replaced the club's former Dietmar Hopp Stadion which, with a capacity of just 6,350, simply wasn't up to the job of hosting Bundesliga football.
With a capacity of 30,150 (in a town with only 36,000 inhabitants!), it's a single-tier, fully covered affair with all the stands being of the same height and similar in appearance - save for the main stand which is dominated by the obligatory number of executive boxes.
Hoffenheim's home end is the South Stand with two centre blocks of terracing (S1 and S2) where their loudest support gather. Visitors are given space in the opposite north-east corner of the ground (Blocks G1,G2, H1 and H2).
2022-2023: 24,634 (Bundesliga)
2021-2022: 11,227 (Bundesliga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 20,449 (Bundesliga) *
2018-2019: 28,456 (Bundesliga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Although the club website offers an English Language version, it's online ticket shop is not 'Aüslander '
friendly and you'll probably need Google Translate to navigate your way around. You can however have your tickets provided in either Print@Home or Mobile Ticket flavours. Tickets can also be bought at the fan shop at the ground.
Achtzehn99 rarely sell-out now that the novelty of being a Bundesliga club on the rise with no local competition has worn off, and apart from matches against the usual suspects and VfB Stuttgart, getting hold of a ticket won't be a problem. Since March 2019, Hoffenheim have operated an official Ticket Exchange site and it's a good place to look if you've been caught out and the sold-out signs have gone up.
Hoffenheim adopt a simple ABC approach to categorising matches but there's a quite a difference in price depending on the quality of opposition facing them. Generally, adults would expect to pay €22 - €44 for seats, and €14 for a place on the terraces. When Dortmund, Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart (Cat B) visit the PreZero however the prices range from €31-58 and it's €18 to stand. Bayern München of course are given their own category (Cat A - what else?) and you're going to have to fork out €32-73 for seats and €18 on the terraces to see 'Der Rekordmeister'.
Discounts are available for children (up to 14 years old), students, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Information about visiting the PreZero Arena for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Dietmar Hopp Straße 1
The PreZero Arena is just off the busy A6 autobahn so take the 33b Sinsheim Süd exit and follow signs to the stadium. The club warn that the autobahn is usually congested and that once you've battled your way off the motorway, the situation isn't much better at the stadium itself. You'd have expected a modern stadium with a motorway running right by it to score well when it comes to getting fans to and from the place. However, it appears that a less than zero (PreZero ?) amount of thought has gone into it.
Car Parks P9-11 nearest the stadium are usually full at least half an hour before kick-off and the alternative P12-15 car parks on Neulandstraße aren't much better. It might be an idea therefore to park a bit further away from the ground (eg in Sinsheim or Steinsfurt) where not only will you save the €5 it costs to use the official stadium car parks, but you'll probably avoid wasting precious lifetime in the post-match traffic inching away from the stadium.
With a match ticket you can ride around in 2nd class on trains, buses and trams within the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (VRN) and the Heilbronner/Hohenloher/Haller Nahverkehr (HNV) transport networks on a matchday until 3am the following morning. Trains deposit fans at the Sinsheim Museum/Arena station and from here it's a 15-minute stroll following everyone else to the arena.
Shuttle buses also run from the Sinsheim (Elsenz) station (one stop further along the line from Sinsheim Museum/Arena) to the ground.
The ground is in the middle of nowhere next to a motorway junction, so unless you're already in Sinsheim to visit the Auto & Technik Museum, then you'll arrive with all the other fans at the stations so just follow the Public Transport directions above.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
All your fanartikels and match tickets can be picked up at the TSG-Fanshop (PreZero Arena, Dietmar Hopp Straße 1, 74889 Sinsheim; tel: +49 (0) 726 194930, email: email@example.com; 10am-5pm, Mon-Wed & Fri; 10am-6pm, Thu; 10am-2pm, Sat).
Public tours of the arena are run on non-matchday Saturdays at 10:30am, 12pm and 1:30pm. No pre-booking is required and the tours last 45-60 minutes. Tickets are available in the fan shop for €5 per person and further info can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
With the PreZero Arena being on an industrial park, there isn't much in the way of bars and restaurants nearby for a pre-match meal. If you're desperate for super processed greasy food then there's a McDonalds on Neulandstaraße. Head to the bars and restaurants in Sinsheim's historic centre instead or join the Hoffenheim fans at their pre-match party held in a tented area on Untere Au by the Auto & Technik Museum. Another idea is to visit Heidelberg half-an-hour away by train before making your way to Sinsheim.
The usual fast food kiosks at the ground will provide you with your fill of chips, pretzel, frikadellen and wurst variants along with a few pints of Bitburger; and since the 2016-17 season, possibly as a reward for coming to watch one of Germany's most unpopular teams, Hoffenheim will let you pay for everything with cash or contactless methods (debit/credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc).
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Heidenheim 1846, 1.FSV Mainz 05, Eintracht Frankfurt, SV Darmstadt 98, VfB Stuttgart
BUNDESLIGA 2: 1.FC Kaiserslautern, Karlsruher SC, SV Elversberg, SV Wehen Wiesbaden
3.LIGA: 1.FC Saarbrücken, SSV Ulm, SV Waldhof Mannheim