Lovely weather, curious fans and a team photo − the first training session of pre-season had all the right ingredients as head coach Jürgen Ehrmann welcomed his squad of 22 players back after their summer break. "We started with a light session," said Ehrmann of his team's first runout. "We gathered some initial impressions and the players got used to having a ball at their feet again." The TSG Hoffenheim players now face nine weeks of preparation before their first competitive game on the weekend of 8-9 September. Luana Bühler, the only new signing of the summer from outside the club, having joined from FC Zürich, is looking forward to the upcoming training sessions and friendlies. "It'll definitely be demanding but that's part and parcel of pre-season so that you can start the season in good condition," said the Swiss international. "My team-mates have given me a friendly welcome and the first training session was a lot of fun." Other new additions − though by no means unknown quantities following their successes with the TSG team in the second division − include Johanna Kaiser, Jana Beuschlein and Annika Eberhardt, who missed the first session due to a foot injury. There have been some changes to the coaching staff too: Markus Bittner will be in charge of the goalkeepers in the Bundesliga team for the coming season, while Ingo Paulsen and co-coach Jürgen Grimm have decided to end their spell at TSG.
The Bundesliga team's first friendly of the summer will be away to SGM TSV Heumaden/SV Sillenbuch, the hometown club of midfielder Franziska Harsch, at 11:00 CET on Sunday morning. "The upcoming training sessions and the fitness test will highlight to us which areas we need to prioritise," explained Ehrmann, who continued: "We're looking ahead with optimism to the first friendly matches against regional opposition." You find all the important dates in the pre-season calendar.