One hundred twenty-one years old, Hoffenheim had to wait for Dietmar Hopp to intervene in the club's history. Hopp acquired his fortune through software entrepreneurship, and at the beginning of the 21st century, he decided to help the squad by funding its climb to the top. In 2018 the team qualified and played in the Champions League, so it's safe to say that Hopp had a massive influence in achieving this feat. He even went on to change the club's playing ground from a 6000 seat one to a 30,000 seat stadium.
Since escaping the relegation zone with a single point during the 2015/2016 campaign, the German club has refined its results finishing 4th, 3rd, 9th, and 6th last season. They were in the 5th tier of German football at the beginning of the 21st century and have climbed the football system to the point where they are presently a consistent Bundesliga side.
Roberto Firmino from Tombense for €4 Million in 2011 – With Firmino Hoffenheim hit the jackpot scouting the lower divisions of Brazilian football. For a club the size of Tombense, the €4 Million that the Bundesliga side paid is often more than the whole squad's value. Firmino managed to adapt well to German football and spent four and a half seasons with Hoffenheim, during which he scored 49 and assisted 36 goals in 153 appearances. In 2015, he completed a historical move to Klopp's Liverpool for €41 Million. Firmino was quite the story that made for juicy transfer news.
Joelinton from Sport Recife for €2.20 Million in 2015 – It seems like attracting future Brazilian stars is Hoffenheim’s specialty. Joelinton, who had joined Recife's senior squad less than a season ago, was offloaded almost immediately, only managing 12 outings. After traveling to Germany, he spent two years out on loan with Rapid Wien. He returned to the Bundesliga in 2018, and after a season with Hoffenheim, he was offloaded to the Premier League with Newcastle United paying €44 Million. With this sum, Joelinton’s transfer beat Firmino's record and is still holding as the most expensive Hoffenheim player.
Demba Ba from Excelsior Mouscron for €3 Million in 2007 – Ba joined the German side while it was still in the 2. Bundesliga. In his first season, he played a pivotal role in the club's return to the top-flight. In total, he made over a hundred appearances during which he scored 40 and assisted 14 goals before controversially leaving in 2011. In a transfer saga in which Ba refused to be sold to Stoke City for nearly €10 Million, he forced his move to West Ham for less than a million euro.
Gylfi Sigurdsson from Reading for €5.20 Million in 2010 – Reading's academy brought up the Icelander, and after he impressed in the 09/10 Championship campaign, he secured a move to a top-flight league with Hoffenheim. After his first season with the Bundesliga club, he fell out of favor, and after completing a loan with Swansea, he was again on the move. Sigurdsson joined Tottenham for €10 Million in 2012, doubling the club's investment.