Thomas Hitzlsperger

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Thomas Hitzlsperger
Der Hammer.jpg
Hitzlsperger with West Ham, March 2011
Personal information
Full name Thomas Hitzlsperger
Date of birth (1982-04-05) 5 April 1982 (age 32)
Place of birth Munich, West Germany
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Central midfielder
Youth career
1988–1989 VfB Forstinning
1989–2000 Bayern Munich
2000–2001 Aston Villa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2005 Aston Villa 99 (8)
2001 Chesterfield (loan) 5 (0)
2005–2010 VfB Stuttgart 125 (20)
2010 Lazio 6 (1)
2010–2011 West Ham United 11 (2)
2011–2012 VfL Wolfsburg 6 (0)
2012–2013 Everton 7 (0)
Total 259 (31)
National team
Germany U19
2002–2004 Germany U21 20 (3)
2004–2010 Germany 52 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Thomas Hitzlsperger (born 5 April 1982) is a German former footballer who played as a midfielder. He spent the early part of his career playing for Aston Villa in England (accompanied by a short loan spell at Chesterfield), before returning to Germany to play for Stuttgart, where he won the Bundesliga in 2007. In 2010 he signed for Italian side Lazio, before moving back to England to join West Ham United later that year. He then had brief spells with Wolfsburg and Everton.

Hitzlsperger also represented the German national team, earning 52 caps and being selected for the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. Following a series of injuries, he retired from football in September 2013.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After joining the VfB Forstinning youth team in 1998, Hitzlsperger signed to the Bayern Munich Junior Team,[2] but agreed to leave at the end of the 1999–2000 season.

Aston Villa[edit]

Ater a short trial with Celtic, in August 2000 Hitzlsperger joined Aston Villa on a free youth transfer from Bayern Munich. He made his Aston Villa debut in a 3–0 home defeat to Liverpool on 13 January 2001; it was his only appearance during his first season in England.[2][3] Whilst at Aston Villa, Hitzlsperger was briefly loaned out to Chesterfield during the 2001–02 season, making his debut against Kidderminster Harriers in the Football League Trophy.[4] In all he made six appearances for the Spireites, five of which were in the league.[3] He was recalled by Aston Villa during the second month of the loan spell however, as the Birmingham club had several players injured or suspended.[5]

Hitzlsperger moved into the Aston Villa first team following the arrival of new manager Graham Taylor. He later played a significant part in the Aston Villa side that finished sixth under David O'Leary, before falling out of favour the following season. Hitzlsperger left Aston Villa as a fan favourite, and stated that he might return to the club when the opportunity comes. He gained the nickname Der Hammer (The Hammer) during his time at Villa Park, due to his powerful left-foot shot from long-range.[6][7] A fluent speaker of English, he acquired an unusual Brummie-German hybrid accent during his spell at Villa.[8]

Stuttgart[edit]

Hitzlsperger celebrates winning the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart in 2007

Hitzlsperger signed for Stuttgart in the summer of 2005,[9] having left Aston Villa on a Bosman free transfer. He became a regular for Stuttgart, particularly in his second season in which the team won the Bundesliga title. Hitzlsperger made a large contribution to their success, playing in 30 of the team's 34 league matches and scoring seven times. He scored a crucial equaliser in the 27th minute of Stuttgart's final match of the season against Energie Cottbus – had Stuttgart lost that match, Schalke 04 would have won the title. In the end, a 63rd minute goal by Sami Khedira secured the title for Stuttgart.[10]

On 14 August 2007, Hitzlsperger extended his contract until the summer of 2010.[11] On 22 July 2008, Hitzlsperger was appointed the new captain of VfB Stuttgart by manager Armin Veh following the departure of former club captain Fernando Meira. On 1 December 2009, he was deposed as team captain by Stuttgart's new manager Markus Babbel.[12]

Lazio[edit]

On 31 January 2010, Hitzlsperger moved to Lazio on six-month contract, for around €550,000.[13][14] He scored his only goal for Lazio on 15 May in a 3–1 win against Udinese.[15]

West Ham United[edit]

Hitzlsperger signed a three-year deal with Premier League club West Ham United in June 2010,[16] but due to an injury did not make his debut for the Hammers until an FA Cup fifth round match against Burnley in February 2011, a game in which he scored in the 23rd minute.[17] ESPN named him man of the match for his debut performance. Hitzlsperger made his league debut for the Hammers in a 3–1 against Liverpool.[18] He scored his first Premier League goal for West Ham in the 3–0 home win against Stoke City on 5 March 2011.[19] At the end of the season West Ham were relegated to the Football League Championship and Hitzlsperger's contract was terminated.[20]

Wolfsburg[edit]

On 17 August 2011, Hitzlsperger signed for Bundesliga club Wolfsburg on a three-year deal, after being released by West Ham three months earlier.[21] His contract was terminated at the end of the season.[22]

Everton[edit]

On 19 October 2012, Hitzlsperger joined Premier League club Everton, after a spell on trial with the club, on a short term contract until January 2013.[23][24] He made his debut for the Toffees coming on as an 86th minute substitute in a 2–1 victory against Sunderland at Goodison Park.[25] He made his first Everton start when the Blues took on Reading at the Madejski Stadium on 17 November 2012. On 11 January 2013 he signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until the end of the season.[26] At the end of the 2012/13 season, he was released by Everton along with Ján Mucha.

Retirement[edit]

In September 2013, aged 31, Hitzlsperger announced his retirement from football citing the strain of "many transfers and some injuries". Although he had received offers to resume his playing career, he reported, "I've noticed: I need something else."[27]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 2 March 2013.[28][29]
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2000–01 Aston Villa Premier League 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2001–02 Chesterfield Second Division 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Aston Villa Premier League 12 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 1
2002–03 26 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 29 4
2003–04 32 3 1 0 5 2 0 0 38 5
2004–05 28 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 30 3
Germany League DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
2005–06 VfB Stuttgart Bundesliga 26 2 2 1 0 0 7 0 35 3
2006–07 30 7 5 3 0 0 0 0 35 10
2007–08 25 5 4 2 - - 2 0 31 7
2008–09 32 5 2 0 - - 5 1 39 6
2009–10 12 1 3 1 - - 5 0 20 2
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2009–10 S.S. Lazio Serie A 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2010–11 West Ham United Premier League 11 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 13 3
Germany League DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
2011–12 VfL Wolfsburg Bundesliga 6 0 0 0 6 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2012–13 Everton Premier League 7 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
Total England 122 11 5 1 10 4 0 0 136 16
Germany 130 20 16 7 0 0 19 1 166 28
Italy 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Career total 259 32 20 8 10 4 19 1 309 45

International career[edit]

Hitzlsperger playing for the German football team.

Hitzlsperger captained the German under-19 team,[4] and also appeared for the national under-21 side. He was then called up to the senior side by Jürgen Klinsmann and made his debut in a 2–0 win against Iran in Tehran on 9 October 2004, replacing Bernd Schneider in the 68th minute.[30][31] He appeared at the 2005 Confederations Cup, and also at the 2006 World Cup, where he failed to make it into Klinsmann's starting eleven, playing just 11 minutes of the third-place play-off match against Portugal.[8] He scored his first international goals on 6 September 2006, in a European Championship qualifying game against San Marino. Hitzlsperger came on as a second half substitute to score Germany's 9th and 11th goals in the 13–0 win,[30][32] a record victory in European Championship qualifying matches.[33]

Germany's coach Joachim Löw included Hitzlsperger in his squad for the finals of Euro 2008, but did not start him in any of the three group games. Hitzlsperger came on as a second-half substitute in the victories over Poland and Austria, and did not feature at all in the defeat to Croatia.[34][35][36] In the knockout stages however, he started all three matches, helping his team to overcome Portugal in the quarter-finals and setting up Philipp Lahm for a 90th minute winner against Turkey in the semifinal.[37][38] Germany were defeated 1–0 by Spain in the final, in which Hitzlsperger was substituted in the second half.[39]

Hitzlsperger remained first choice in 2010 World Cup qualifying, playing in all matches save one and scoring a goal,[40] but he missed out on his nation's World Cup squad in June 2010. His international career ended on 11 August 2010 – with his 52nd cap.[41]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino  San Marino 9–0 13–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
2. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino  San Marino 11–0 13–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
3. 6 June 2007 AOL Arena, Hamburg, Germany  Slovakia 2–1 2–1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
4. 17 November 2007 Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany  Cyprus 4–0 4–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
5. 6 February 2008 Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria  Austria 1–0 3–0 Friendly
6. 6 September 2008 Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz, Liechtenstein  Liechtenstein 5–0 6–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying

Personal life[edit]

Hitzlsperger, the youngest child of Ludwig and Anneliese Hitzlsperger, was born in Munich and grew up in Forstinning, alongside his five brothers and one sister.[42][43] Hitzlsperger has an interest in economics, in particular dynamic mechanism design, and while in England studied investment strategies, although he did not complete the course.[44] He regularly visited the Bank of England to discuss finance with the bank's governor, Mervyn King, a lifelong Aston Villa fan.[45]

Hitzlsperger has blogged for Störungsmelder, an anti-racism site that encourages debate about xenophobia and racism in Germany.[44]

In June 2007, Hitzlsperger split from his longtime girlfriend, Inga[46] just one month before they were due to get married.[47] On 8 January 2014, he became the most high-profile footballer to come out as gay to date.[48][49][50] Hitzlsperger admitted he only realised he was gay in the past few years.[51]

On 9 April 2011, Hitzlsperger was caught travelling in his Range Rover at 107 mph (172 km/h) on the A14 in Suffolk.[52] On 14 July 2011, he was fined £750 and was given six penalty points on his driving licence by Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court.[52] However, he was spared a driving ban as he was at the time unemployed and claimed he needed his car to drive around the country and look for a new club.[53]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

VfB Stuttgart

International[edit]

Germany

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Whitehead, Richard (20 November 2004). "Thomas Hitzlsperger and Bruce Rioch". The Times. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Thomas Hitzlsperger career statistics". soccerbase.com. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Seasonal review october 2001". Chesterfield F.C. 17 November 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "Hitzlsperger back at Villa". BBC Sport. 10 December 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  6. ^ Slater, Gary (21 April 2005). "Villa short of conviction". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  7. ^ Ridley, Ian (15 December 2002). "Hitzlsperger hits late on". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Thomas Hitzlsperger profile". UEFA. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "Stuttgart seal Hitzlsperger deal". BBC Sport. 13 April 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  10. ^ Sivananda, Senthuran. "VfB Stuttgart – Energie Cottbus" (in German). fussballdaten.de. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  11. ^ "Hitzlsperger extends until 2010". vfb.de. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  12. ^ "The winds of change". vfb.de. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Bilancio separato e consolidato al 30.06.2010" [2009–10 Annual Report]. SS Lazio (in Italian). 28 October 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Arrivederci Thomas Hitzlsperger". VfB Stuttgart. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Result between Lazio & Udinese on 15 May 2010". soccerbase.com. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "Hammers sign The Hammer". whufc.com. 9 May 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "West Ham v Burnley". BBC Sport. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "West Ham 3 – 1 Liverpool". BBC Sport. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "West Ham 3 – 0 Stoke". BBC Sport. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "Sam sets out promotion plan". whufc.com. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Bundesliga – Wolfsburg sign Hitzlsperger". Yahoo Sport. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Salihamidzic, Chris and Hitzlsperger part company with VfL Wolfsburg". vfl-wolfsburg.de. VfL Wolfsburg. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Hitzlsperger Signs". evertonfc.com. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Hitzlsperger Trains With Blues". evertonfc.com. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Everton 2–1 Sunderland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "Hitzlsperger To Stay With Blues". evertonfc.com. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "'Der Hammer' hangs up his boots". www.football365.com. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger" (in German). Fussballdaten.de. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  29. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger Stats, News – VfB Stuttgart" (in German). espnsoccernet.de. Retrieved 10 December 2008. [dead link]
  30. ^ a b "Statistics – Players Info Hitzlsperger". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  31. ^ "Statistics – Iran 0:2 Germany". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  32. ^ "Statistics – San Marino 0:13 Germany". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  33. ^ "San Marino 0–13 Germany". BBC Sport. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  34. ^ "Statistics – Germany 2:0 Poland". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  35. ^ "Statistics – Croatia 2:1 Germany". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  36. ^ "Statistics – Austria 0:1 Germany". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  37. ^ "Statistics – Portugal 2:3 Germany". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  38. ^ "Germany 3–2 Turkey". BBC Sport. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  39. ^ "Statistics – Germany 0:1 Spain". Deutscher Fußball-Bund. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  40. ^ "DFB – Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. – All Players from A-Z". Dfb.de. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  41. ^ Arnhold, Matthias (15 February 2013). "Thomas Hitzlsperger - Goals in International Matches". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  42. ^ Nursey, James (30 April 2005). "Hitz over – but Thomas won't forget Villa spell". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  43. ^ "Kontrastprogramm zu München". Der Spiegel (in German). 3 March 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  44. ^ a b Honigstein, Raphael (14 December 2007). "Small Talk: Thomas Hitzlsperger". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  45. ^ Chittenden, Maurice (16 April 2006). "Bank governor's secret sessions kept German player on the ball". The Times. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  46. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger ex-girlfriend Inga Totzauer". January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  47. ^ "Ein Monat vor Hochzeit: Liebes-Aus!". Rheinische Post (in German). 8 June 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  48. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger: Former Aston Villa player reveals he is gay". BBC Sports. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  49. ^ "Hitzlsperger: "Ich äußere mich zu meiner Homosexualität"". kicker (in German). 8 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  50. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger becomes first high-profile gay footballer". CNN. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  51. ^ "Ex-Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger comes out as gay". inside World Soccer. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  52. ^ a b "Millionaire Premier League footballer caught at 107mph spared driving ban because he is 'unemployed'". Daily Mail. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  53. ^ "Thomas Hitzlsperger spared driving ban because he is 'unemployed'". Metro. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 

External links[edit]