FROM COLOGNE TO HOFFENHEIM
Their winning contribution on the soccer club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim earned Julius and Georg from Cologne an exclusive prize: There were invited by managing director Peter Görlich to take a look behind the scenes of the Bundesliga club on a match day. The two students have meanwhile redeemed their prize in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Two hours before kick-off, everything is still quiet. Through a frosted glass door, the club's press spokesman Holger Kliem guides Julius (17) and Georg (18) into the hallowed halls. In the mixed zones, in which reporters will interview players of both teams immediately after the final whistle, there are only a few barriers. In the TSG's changing room, a large fruit bowl sits on a table in the center of the room, the tactical board is set up, and water ripples in the revitalizing pool. A jersey and a pair of soccer shoes lie ready for each player. The coach has his own changing room next door. To make sure no tactical secrets are revealed ahead of the match, the two students are not allowed to take any photos here.
In the stadium, television broadcast teams are preparing their cameras—a matter of routine for them. For Julius and Georg, in contrast, sitting on the blue and white coach's bench is a unique experience. For a photo, the winners from Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule and their teacher Karl-Bernd Burbach spread out a scarf of Cologne's soccer team 1. FC Köln. Although the two students aren't passionate soccer fans, they hit the mark with their analysis of TSG. "It wasn't really a lot of work," says Georg. "The two of us worked on it very intensively, and we completed the project in just a few afternoons."
COMBATING DISAPPOINTMENT AND COLD WITH CURRYWURST
As the first journalists open their laptops in the press area, the two winners make the most of their VIP tickets. A generous buffet awaits them in the Business Club. The two of them are amazed at how many people meet here to eat and drink before the match—and how much can be consumed in a short period of time. While eating, they tell the others at their table all about the ownership structure of TSG. Thanks to their research for the video competition, the two of them know all about the financials at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim as a company.
In terms of game play, the coach holds the reins. Before the match, Julian warns Nagelsmann that Leverkusen is "one of the most dangerous teams in the league" and that one would have to be having "a very good day to beat them." In the first half, Hoffenheim manages to keep up with its guests from Leverkusen. Nevertheless, the home team trails 0:1 at half time. During the break, large amounts of currywurst sausage prove a good remedy against the disappointment and cold. But after the final score of 1:4, even good food and drink can't console the true fans in the Business Club over their resounding defeat.
AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE
Despite Hoffenheim's defeat, the two boys from Cologne thought the day was "wonderful," as Julius says. After the final whistle, the winners make their way to the press conference. The question they had wanted to ask Hoffenheim's coach there remains unanswered—the two of them had wanted to ask whether Nagelsmann would be interested in switching to Cologne's soccer club 1. FC Köln. Instead, Julius and George hear the successful 30-year-old's live announcement at the press conference that he intends to remain the head coach at TSG in the coming season.
The press conference is over quickly, and Nagelmann leaves the press area swiftly and wordlessly. But at least he still finds time to take a photo with the two video bloggers from Cologne.