One to Watch: Roberto Firmino

Posted on June 26, 2011


TSG Hoffenheim have now established themselves as a regular in the Bundesliga following their rapid rise from the lower leagues to the top-flight.

The first six months of their debut season in the Bundesliga was the stuff of dreams with Vedad Ibisevic and Sejad Salihovic forming a devastating partnership that put TSG in contention for the title by the winter break. However, a long-term knee injury for Ibisevic meant that Hoffenheim fell further down the table and secured a respectable mid-table position.

Owner Dietmar Hopp has invested heavily in infrastructure for the club, building a 30,000-seater stadium as well as a new training facility and promised to invest in youth development rather than multi-million pound players.

One of the young stars at Hoffenheim is 19-year-old Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino who was signed from Figueirense after attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Firmino joined in the winter break of last season and made a decent impact in his first six months in Germany, making 11 appearances for Hoffenheim and scoring three times.

At just 18, Firmino had already become a regular with Figueirense and in his first full season with the club, he played over 30 times in the Brazilian Serie B, scoring eight goals. His impressive performances in Brazil led to Hoffenheim spending €4m on the forward who is set to have a big future with the club.

Firmino has featured mainly on the left of a 4-3-3 for Hoffenheim in his time with the club, although, he was regularly deployed as an attacking-midfielder whilst with Figueirense. The youngster is just as comfortable on the right, or as a central-midfielder and his ability to use both feet naturally makes him a very useful player for Holger Stanislawski’s side.

His three goals for Hoffenheim came towards the end of the campaign for Hoffenheim, his first coming against Eintracht Frankfurt. On the second last matchday of the season, Firmino netted the equaliser in Hoffenheim’s 2-1 victory in Nurnberg.

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