By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Bundesliga End of Season Awards: Hoffenheim's Player of the Season

Taking an influential majority of 5 votes from our writers, TSG Hoffenheim’s Maximilian Beier bagged himself the Bundesliga Player of the Season accolade for the Sinsheim-based club.

 

What a season for Pellegrino Matarazzo’s men. The American manager masterminded TSG Hoffenheim’s best domestic finish since the 2019/20 season. A return to the midweek European stage awaits them. While the club from Sinsheim did make a late surge into their final position with some other results going their way, can it really be disputed? Matarazzo’s side spent just 7 of the 34 Matchdays outside of the European places. Two of which were the opening games of the campaign where the table is most even. A result made all the more impressive considering starlet Christoph Baumgartner left the club on a €25.5 million deal for pastures new in Leipzig. With 7 goals and 7 assists last campaign, it appeared Hoffenheim had lost a key component of their squad.

Perhaps unsuspectingly to many, Andrej Kramaric didn’t steal the limelight this season. While the Croatian was outstanding; a young, energised, confident Maximilian Beier led the charge for Hoffenheim. At just 21 years of age, Beier enjoyed a breakthrough season in Germany’s top-flight finding the net 16 times and supplying 1 assist in 33 outings. A remarkable return for someone so young and boasted just 9 Bundesliga appearances prior to the 2023-24 edition of the Bundesliga.

With his vision, versatility, and blistering pace, it is clear that Hoffenheim have not only a star but a future German national team striker in their ranks. Although he has plenty to learn, Beier already possesses qualities that any club would dream of. Off the ball he is an aggressive presser which instantly puts defences on edge. Add to that his speed, of which he clocked in as the 19th-fastest Bundesliga player this season reaching 35.45 kilometres per hour. Valued at €8million back in October 2023, his stock has risen sharply to €30million since. Other clubs will undoubtedly sniff around but his contract runs until 2027 allowing Matarazzo to plan with his services in mind. 

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE:

Maximilian Beier made it difficult to pick from multiple breath-taking displays this season. It was a tight call but its hard to look past his match-defining performance on Matchday 24 against Werder Bremen. Having scored a brace the weekend prior away to Borussia Dortmund, the 21-year-old maintained his fine form to strike again inside 8 minutes on this occasion. Already under the cosh with Zetterer busy between the sticks, there was little Bremen’s shot-stopper could do deny Beier. Anton Stach’s corner arrived at the back post eight yards from goal. It looked as if nobody would attack it until Beier pivoted and swivelled a crisply struck right-footed volley into the lower left corner.

Beier completed a second blistering brace in as many games in the 44th-minute as Hoffenheim broke on the counter. Ihlas Bebou carried play down the right flank constantly scanning for teammates in support. The Togolese international took a final glance inside the box before crossing low into the penalty area. Peeling away from his marker, Beier arrived and cushioned the ball past Zetterer with his left instep. By no means an easy finish, but an example of his duel-footed ability. The youngster could have made it a hat-trick but for an excellent Zetterer save on the hour mark. Hoffenheim held on to win 2-1 despite a late Skelly Alvaro goal. 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Having completed his seventh season in Sinsheim, Andrej Kramarić can feel unlucky not to pick up the accolade with 3 votes. The 32-year-old Croatian star had yet another strong and consistent campaign, with 15 goals and 6 assists in 30 appearances. Similarly, the experienced name of Oliver Baumann picked up a solitary vote – Hoffenheim’s keeper managed just two clean sheets, but with 157 saves he tops the Bundesliga shots saved statistics with 27 to spare over his nearest rival (K. Müller, 130).

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