Created on 04-12-2008 at 00:00 AM
Hoffenheim only appeared on the Bundesliga radar last summer, when the club from the south-western village of just 3,500 souls arrived in the top flight after successive promotions from the third and second divisions. During that period, sports psychologist Philipp Laux was a member of the TSG coaching staff, before joining Jürgen Klinsmann’s team at Bayern last August. Ahead of Friday’s meeting between the high-flying sides, Laux assessed his former club for fcbayern.de.
Interview: Philipp Laux
fcbayern.de: Philipp, you spent two years with Hoffenheim, so have you been fielding a lot of calls ahead of Friday’s reunion?
Laux: “All I’ve had was a question from Hoffenheim team manager Dirk Rittmüller, asking where their coaching staff – which is as big as ours here in Munich – might sit at the Allianz Arena. Otherwise, nothing.“
fcbayern.de: Do you still talk to anyone from Hoffenheim?
Laux: “Very little. I had two good a successful years there, but I’m not in regular contact with anyone.“
fcbayern.de: You know the players and coach Ralf Rangnick very well. What’s TSG’s recipe for success?
Laux: “It’s tough to explain in a couple of sentences, but I’ll say this: Hoffenheim’s success is no accident. Conditions there were already worthy of the top flight when Ralf Rangnick took over in the third division two or more years ago. He inherited a team which was already long on quality, and has now been optimised by good scouting. In terms of training facilities, Hoffenheim were on a par with most Bundesliga clubs even when they were in the third division. What’s more, Rangnick boasts a coaching staff in which every member brings his full expertise to bear. Hoffenheim’s success is no coincidence.“
fcbayern.de: Hoffenheim were also one of the first clubs in Germany to anchor sports psychology in their training programme. How much has that contributed to their progress?
Laux: “You can’t express it as a figure, but sports psychology is part of the jigsaw which brings a few percent more out of the players. The mental aspect has to be right if you’re looking for optimal performance.“