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Philipp Laux:

Hoffenheim’s success is no accident

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

Interview: Philipp Laux 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.“ 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.“ 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.“ 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.“