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Interview - Big Data and the Human Factor in Football

Presented by Rafael - Bjoern Hoffner

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim has been the first club a soccer club in the German Bundesliga to collect and analyse data. In cooperation with SAP Big Data and the Internet of Things enables the club to analyze their players’ activities data individually, predict potential performance fluctuations and customise training levels to make sure that each player stays in his own maximum performance zone. Furthermore, data and virtual reality technologies are used to increase the technical as well as cognitive skills of young players and promote their career development.

In this interview Rafael highlights what important role technology can play and how real-time data help the entire team to break down the complexity of a game to train the specific technical, tactical, physical and psychological elements that can make the difference between winning and losing.

Topics covered in this interview include:

  • Reliability of data in a complex environment with external variables
  • Leveraging new technologies like virtual reality to improve individual performances
  • Acceptance of new technologies in professional football and sports
  • The human factor and the limits of Big Data in football
  • General digital trend in sports and the impact on football as profession


Rafael - Bjoern Hoffner, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fußball-Spielbetriebs GmbH >
Rafael - Bjoern Hoffner

Head of Innovation, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fußball-Spielbetriebs GmbH

From the very beginning Rafael has been actively involved in the development and introduction of new technologies and data based analytics at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Rafael’s academic degree in Sports Business Administration from the German Sports Academy in Cologne, in combination with his personal experience as a youth player and coach of youth teams, enabled him to seamlessly integrate state-of-the-art technologies such as SAP’s holographic projection system, the Helix, and the Footbonaut – a ball feeding machine erected on a 14 metre square – into the world of professional football.