Robin Hack's dream debut with a small blemish

Freiburg, 1st October 2017, 13:30, Robin Hack is in the TSG starting XI for the first time. Freiburg, 1st October 2017, 13:44 - Robin Hack scores his first Bundesliga goal. Freiburg, 1st October 2017, 14:12 - Robin Hack collides with teammate Kevin Vogt and has to be taken off with light concussion: A professional debut at the age of 19 - and certainly one for the club’s history books. Back in May, a portrait of the youngster featured in TSG’s monthly fan magazine with the caption: "Ready for the big stage!" A statement which the Hoffenheim attacker proved to be true in Freiburg.

German football magazine ‘Kicker’ promptly added the 19-year-old to their Team of the Matchday, and Keving Vogt, who captained TSG in Sunday’s derby, gave his thoughts after the game: "Robin was very agile and made excellent runs from deep. His goal made it a top debut. I am pleased that his injury isn’t too serious and that he won’t be out for very long." Hack only took the step from the academy into the first team this summer, signing his first professional contract in June before joining the Dennis Geiger and Germany U19s in Georgia for the European Championship.

Hack therefore only joined the TSG team at their training camp in Windischgarsten. "Robin plays in a position that isn’t very common in Germany: he’s a classic winger," said assistant manager Matthias Kaltenbach after gaining his first impressions at the training camp in Austria. "He’s a great dribbler of the ball and is incredibly quick, which makes him difficult to tackle in one-on-one situations. He’s cheeky, experiments a lot. Not everything comes off, not by any means, but you can already see what he’s capable of." This could be seen in the Hoffenheim academy as well, where his 25 goals from 48 appearances in the U17 Bundesliga and his 17 goals from 24 games in the U19 Bundesliga spoke volumes for the youngster. No wonder he scored his first goal for TSG with only his second shot.

Turning point – summer 2015

TSG’s home win over FC Bayern München in April 2017 was a kind of enlightenment for the winger. A dream catalyst. "Playing against Bayern is a dream," said Robin Hack. As a U19 player at the time, he witnessed the victory in Sinsheim. "I actually don’t go to the ground that often, even though I live nearby," the youngster told Spielfeld. But every time, the feeling was there: "Every time I go, I ask myself: ‘When will I play here?’ I just have to give it all I’ve got to someday make an appearance there." And give it all he had he did, and it has paid off – not in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena yet, nor against Bayern, but last Sunday in Freiburg.

Robin Hack has known for a long time what he wants. He invested everything into his career on the football pitch. Hack does not lack in confidence, not least due to the fact that he has had negative experiences in the past and has learned from them. In 2015, he missed the U17 World Cup in Chile through major injury. That summer was a turning point in his life. In the Bundesliga youth competition, Hack was on the wrong end of a nasty tackle which left him with a broken shin and fibula. Hack collapsed on the pitch and only regained consciousness in the treatment room. Weeks and months of recovery followed. "I saw how quickly it can all be over," said Hack, reflecting on the injury: "I’ve learned a lot, I’m more aware now: I need to look after my body, be more professional, do more, whether it’s regenerating, stretching exercises or athletics. I now do a lot more."

Dust yourself off, learn, improve. That’s how Robin Hack exists in this sport. Always has. "Football was all there ever was for me. Always football." At 14 years of age, he left Pforzheim for TSG, with his mother and little sister shedding a tear, not wanting to see their son/brother leave. "That was tough for them, but I always wanted to be a professional footballer so it was clear to me that I had to invest more." Today he says: "I never regretted it." Robin went to live with a host family and only recently moved into his own flat in Sinsheim. He always believed in his chance at Hoffenheim, partly due to the example set by former and current teammate Philipp Ochs, which showed him that it is possible. Perhaps it won’t always go as well as his debut in Freiburg, but it’s possible.


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