Thomas Hitzlsperger

Thomas Hitzlsperger

Thomas Hitzlsperger (born April 5, 1982 in Munich) is a German footballer who plays for VfB Stuttgart as a midfielder and is their current captain. He spent the early part of his career playing for Aston Villa in England, and has also represented the German national team.

Club career

Aston Villa

Hitzlsperger, the son of a Bavarian farmer, grew up alongside his five brothers and one sister. In August 2000 he joined Aston Villa on a free transfer from FC Bayern, where he was a player in the youth team. He had a short trial period with Celtic after leaving Bayern Munich, but he opted to join Villa.

He made his 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. Whilst at Aston Villa, Hitzlsperger was briefly loaned out to Chesterfield during the 2001–02 season, making his debut against Kidderminster Harriers in the LDV Vans Trophy. In all he made six appearances for the Spireites, five of which were in the league. He was recalled by Aston Villa during the second month of the loan spell however, as the Midlands club had several players injured or suspended. Hitzlsperger moved into the Aston Villa first team following the arrival of new manager Graham Taylor. He would go on to play a significant part in the Aston Villa side that would finish 6th under David O'Leary, before falling out of favour the following season. He left Aston Villa as a fan favourite, and stated that he might return to the club when the opportunity comes. Hitzlsperger gained the nickname 'der Hammer' ('the hammer') during his time at Villa Park, due to his powerful left-foot shot from long-range. A fluent speaker of English, he acquired an unusual Birmingham/German hybrid accent during his spell at Villa.


Hitzlsperger signed for VfB Stuttgart in the summer of 2005, 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 would have won the title. In the end, a 63rd minute goal by Sami Khedira secured the title for Stuttgart.

On 14 August 2007, he extended his contract until the summer of 2010.

On July 22, 2008 Hitzlsperger was appointed the new captain of VfB Stuttgart by manager Armin Veh following the departure of former club captain Fernando Meira.

Career statistics

|- |2002-03||rowspan="3"|Aston Villa||rowspan="3"|Premier League||26||2|||||||||||||||| |- |2003-04||32||3|||||||||||||||| |- |2004-05||28||3|||||||||||||||| |- |2005-06||rowspan="4"|Stuttgart||rowspan="4"|Bundesliga||26||2|||||||||||||||| |- |2006-07||30||7|||||||||||||||| |- |2007-08||25||5|||||||||||||||| |- |2008-09||7||1||1||0||||||1||0||9||186||8||||||||||||||||88||15||||||||||||||||174||23|||||||||||||||| |}

International career

Hitzlsperger has captained the German under-19 team, and has 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. 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. 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, a record victory in European Championship qualifying matches.

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. 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 semi. Germany were defeated 1–0 by Spain in the final, in which Hitzlsperger was substituted in the second half.

International goals

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:

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

Life outside football

Hitzlsperger has an interest in economics, and whilst in England studied investment strategies, although he did not complete the course. He regularly visited the Bank of England to discuss finance with the bank's governor, Mervyn King, a lifelong Aston Villa fan.

Hitzlsperger has blogged for Störungsmelder, a site that encourages debate about xenophobia and racism in Germany.

In June 2007, Hitzlsperger split from his long-term girlfriend Inga, just one month before they were due to get married.


With Stuttgart:

With Germany:


External links

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