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Hoffenheim: How Long Before Small Team Makes the Champions League?

XXX XXXSenior Writer IJuly 9, 2008

You see — money can buy you happiness. Just take the grey-haired chap on the right. That’s Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of the software giant SAP and one of the richest men in Germany.  Alongside him is Ralf Rangnick, the former Schalke 04 coach, and they’re celebrating TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s promotion to the Bundesliga.  This promotion completes an incredible rise for Hoffenheim, who are quite possibly the world’s most successful village team.  Based in Sinsheim in south-western Germany, they have been backed by Hopp since 1990. After making it as far as the regional third division, they hired Rangnick a couple of years ago and they’ve now clinched successive promotions to the top flight.  They’re due to move to a 30,000 stadium next year and who knows where it will all end. A bid to bring Michael Ballack back to the Bundesliga? A place in the Champions League this time next year? Maybe they could offer a certain unsettled Brazilian a nice change from Barcelona...

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