The Thorben Hoffmann quotes Sunderland fans will love as he reflects on season so far and Stadium of Light 'goosebumps'

Thorben Hoffmann's first Sunderland column for Kicker magazine reflected on an overwhelmingly positive start to life on Wearside.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:30 pm

The German delivered an uplifting verdict on a fresh start in a new league, a new country and a new city.

With that in mind, his second effort might come as an even more reassuring read to supporters.

It has been a tricky couple of months both for player and team, who've been given a stark insight into the realities of League One football when conditions worsen.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Thorben Hoffmann in action at the Stadium of Light

For Hoffmann the toughest afternoon was a heavy 5-1 defeat to Rotherham United, when an error in possession gifted Paul Warne's side their fifth goal.

The 22-year-old says he and his side have learned major lessons from some tough defeats, and says the 'cohesion' of the group is consistently growing.

He also paid tribute to the Sunderland support that he says is giving him 'goosebumps' in every game.

And to do, he drew on the words of one of Sunderland's finest musicians.

Hoffmann wrote: "First the flood, then the crisis? After the water fight against Portsmouth and a really tough defeat, we were in a great mood in the games after that and won regularly.

"Whether away or at our Stadium of Light home, the stands are full. In one game I was voted Man of the Match, which makes me a bit proud.

"No wonder, really, with these fans: when 'Wise Men Say' is heard from more than 30,000 voices, I still get goose bumps.

"And when the collective “come on!” is heard, the stadium literally shakes. It’s cool, or to say it like Sunderland musician Bryan Ferry: “Don’t stop the Dance!

"But the intensity of the English weeks, often with trips halfway across the country, is also enormous. And then - no ups without downs - things suddenly didn’t go so well.

"In the league, we actually lost three games in a row," Hoffmann added.

"I also scored a real goal. In the 5-1 defeat against promotion rivals Rotherham, the ball jumped off my foot.

"Sometimes just “kicking it away” is the best solution. And maybe that’s a bit symbolic. The third division doesn’t give you anything for pretty play. You have to fight, always hold your own, no heel-and-toe 1,2,3.

"I think we’ve learnt that and we’ve put it into practice well in the next games. One reason: The cohesion in the team is growing from day to day.

"So, as Bryan Ferry would say: “Let’s stick together”.

Hoffmann is expected to return to the starting XI when Oxford United visit the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, after Lee Burge made his comeback from a hip flexor injury in the 1-0 defeat to Oldham Athletic in the Papa John's Trophy.

Hoffmann has made 14 appearances in all competitions since joining on loan from Bayern Munich on deadline day.

Sunderland confirmed that they have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the campaign, as with fellow summer addition Leon Dajaku.

You can read Hoffmann’s Kicker column in full here

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor