- Title: GERMANY: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - New Hoffenheim Stadium opens in Sinsheim
- Date: 25th January 2009
- Summary: SINSHEIM, GERMANY (JANUARY 24, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF NEW HOFFENHEIM STADIUM PAN ACROSS INTERIOR OF STADIUM SEATING STADIUM BEING BLESSED BY CLERGY GOALPOSTS BEING POSITIONED BY GROUNDSTAFF WIDE OF PITCH HOFFENHEIM SPONSOR DIETMAR HOPP ARRIVES AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (German) SPONSOR DIETMAR HOPP, SAYING: "Today is another great day in the history of the sports club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, which in the course of the last two years really has seen a lot of extraordinary things happening." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (German) SPONSOR DIETMAR HOPP, SAYING: "I am confident, that for a long time to come we will remain a constant feature on the map of German soccer. In terms of sports we already achieved it, with the new arena we will do so in the future and we will also come into the focus of worldwide public attention with the Womens World Cup games in this arena." CLUB BANNERS
- Embargoed: 9th February 2009 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAF4YIPR923JKBQZ5ZPITTGQ5N1
- Story Text: Rags to riches Hoffenheim have new stadium.
Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim opened their new 60-million euro stadium on Saturday (January 24), hoping it will boost their chances of winning the title when the league resumes next week.
Located in nearby Sinsheim, the 30,000-seat Rhein-Neckar arena, which can be reduced to 27,500 seats for international fixtures, will be the surprise leaders' home ground with all 20,000 season tickets already sold out.
Hoffenheim only won promotion to the top flight last year.
"I wish the Hoffenheim wonder continues on an endless run in this stadium," the team's financial backer, software billionaire Dietmar Hopp, who paid for the stadium, told reporters at the inauguration ceremony.
"I hope we remain on the German soccer map for a long long time," Hopp said.
Thousands of fans flocked to the new stadium which took 17 months to build for a glimpse of their team's new home and to watch Hoffenheim play a friendly against a team composed of players from the region.
Hoffenheim were stunning during the first part of the season, topping the Bundesliga ahead of champions Bayern Munich on goal difference after 17 games.
Hoffenheim, with a population of just 3,200, previously played their home games at the Carl-Benz stadium in Mannheim. Their old village stadium has a capacity of just 5,000.
With an audacious attacking style and the league's most effective strike force, Hoffenheim have won over many fans in Germany who want to see the village team with few famous players seriously challenge powerhouse Bayern for the title.
Their hopes, however, suffered a major setback recently when the league's top scorer, Vedad Ibisevic, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during a practice match and he will be out for the rest of the season.
"I hope Bayern will not win the championship and I wish our boys all the best," Ibisevic told Bild newspaper.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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