It has been a crazy few days at the Hoffenheim club, something that has not gone unnoticed by the players. "Naturally I was shocked at first when I heard about the decision", conceded Peniel Mlapa who has a lot to thank Rangnick for having brought him to Kraichgau. "But we'll turn our attention forward and try to continue our good form for new manager Marco Pezzaiuoli." For the new man in charge it was important to keep fun at the forefront of the football being played, as he wanted to help nuture the already positive atmosphere. The ball was in the spotlight on Tuesday morning, which meant no weight lifting or intensive running, instead just a focus on the ball and the teams passing game. The afternoon was focused on tactics and the individuals' roles within the system, which in certain areas had room for improvement. "In the first half of the season we've build a good foundation, doing a lot of things right. All that's left to do is build on it and optimise the details in our training methods", explained Pezzaiuoli.
Discipline and Communication
With the focus on the pitch revolving around the ball, the focus off the pitch for Pezzaiuoli was on the professionalism of his team. "Discipline and communication are fundamental to working together successfully. I talk to my players a lot in order to give them a true understanding of my style of football." Quick passing, lots of movement and an aggressive approach off the ball that's Pezzaiuoli's style, one very compatible with Hoffenheim's philosophy.
Boris Vukcevic has been one of the standout performers for Hoffenheim and has shown everyone that he has bundles of potential. Unfortunately for the youngster, though, he has been sidelined by the flu during the first few days in La Manga and has therefore been unable to take part in training. Manuel Gulde was also missing from the first team training as he works himself back to full fitness on an individual training routine aimed at rehabilitating his groin injury.