Struggling Bundesliga side Hoffenheim have appointed Pellegrino Matarazzo as their new head coach as they look to right the ship and avoid relegation.
The announcement, which came on Wednesday, sees the New Jersey-born coach replace Andre Breitenreiter, who was fired on Monday, after going nine games without a win, dropping them to 14th place in the standings with 19 points. Matarazzo has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal through to 30 June 2025.
Matarazzo, 45, returns to Hoffenheim where he was an assistant coach and youth coach for two years before taking the head coaching job at Stuttgart, which was playing in the 2. Bundesliga at the time.
“We never lost contact. I’m delighted that he is with us again,” Hoffenheim’s director of football Alexander Rosen said in a statement. “We last won a Bundesliga match in October. It is the second time within a certain timeframe that we’ve been on a long winless run.”
“Under a lot of pressure, we sat down together after the decision to switch coaches. We worked on solutions in a very team-oriented way. We want to show TSG’s face again.”
“We agreed quickly that Rino is a coach who suits us perfectly. He knows the club and the players. He has a way of dealing with people and understanding football that suits us very well. Rino is full of energy – and he doesn’t have a long commute either.”
Prior to his return to the Rhein Neckar Arena, Matarazzo was in charge of Stuttgart. He made headlines when he guided the team to promotion from the 2. Bundesliga in 2020. He then pulled off a great escape when they maintained their Bundesliga status in the 2021-2022 season. However, a string of poor results saw him relieved of his coaching duties in October 2022.
Now back on familiar ground, the former center-back is ready to put up a fight to keep the team in the Bundesliga.
“As I’ve been living in the region since 2017, I’ve witnessed TSG’s development first-hand even after my departure and have followed it particularly closely due to my history with the club. The situation is undoubtedly demanding,” said Pellegrino Matarazzo. “I’m convinced of the team’s quality and will approach the task full of verve and with great confidence. TSG is synonymous with offensive, courageous and fresh football. I want to quickly get the team back to playing the kind of football that has set them apart for many years and that they’ve already impressively shown on the pitch this season,”
Matarazzo will get his first chance to break Hoffenheim’s winless run when they face Bayer Leverkusen at home on Saturday.