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22 August 2017

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim gets 'faster in the head' with SAP analytics

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is a Bundesliga football club that has made a 17-year journey from Germany’s fifth division. Think Sutton United becoming Arsenal. That rise cannot be wholly attributed to SAP’s sponsorship of the club, nor indeed the club’s increasingly intensive use of data analytics, underlying which is the software supplier’s Hana in-memory columnar database. Dietmar Hopp was one of the founders of SAP, and has been a financial backer of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim since 2000. The village of Hoffenheim itself is home to 3,300 souls, and its football team makes its Champions League debut this season. It is pitted against Liverpool for a place in the group stages of the tournament. Jan Mayer, sports psychologist at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, recounts that shortly after he arrived at the club, nine years ago, he was asked if he could make the players “faster in the head”. At first, this was a bewildering request. But it turned out to be doable, using computer-based training “for optimising speed of action”. During the course of a ...

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