Thomas Hitzlsperger enjoyed a good spell at Aston Villa and was considered a firm fan favourite amongst the Villa faithful. Nicknamed Der Hammer (The Hammer) for his magnificent long-range shoots, Hitzlsperger was an integral part of the team which finished the Premier League in sixth place under David O’Leary.
He left Aston Villa in 2005 but was not as effective in other teams as he was in Claret and Blue. During this article, we will take a look at the German’s rise from Villa midfielder to become the Head of Sport at Stuttgart.
Hitzlsperger was born in 1982 in Munich. Coming through the youth ranks of Bayern Munich from 1989 to 2000, he signed for Aston Villa in 2001 on a free transfer. During his 4-year spell, he managed to score 8 goals in 99 Premier League matches.
Hitzlsperger had a brief loan to Chesterfield during the 2001-02 season but it was cut short and he was recalled due to injuries at Villa Park. The turning point for the German was the arrival of a new manager Graham Taylor. Playing at the left-wing and also in the central midfield, Hitzlsperger was pivotal for the team’s successes.
The continuing progress in the team garnered attention in his native country too. Despite only being 23, many pundits in his own country anticipated the German could one day sign for a top European club. The online casino industry in Germany known among citizens as online casinos in Deutschland which was still developing at that period and was still in its infancy decided to offer some bets on whether Hitzlsperger would go in the next season. It was still an innovation to produce bets on such an option and the leading place was dedicated to German teams. Eventually, they managed to guess the destination for him and Hitzlsperger signed for Stuttgart in 2005.
Becoming a captain and winning the title
Hitzlsperger became a central figure for the club, especially in the season where his team managed to win the championship title in 2007. That season he was a crucial part of the Stuttgart team, playing in 30 of the 34 games, scoring 7 goals.
We can remember a crucial last match against Cottbus when he scored the equalizer, and Sami Khedira scored the winner, ensuring for Stuttgart to become champions. If Stuttgart had lost that game, Schalke would have been crowned as champions.
On July 22, 2008, Hitzlsperger became a captain of the team, after Fernando Meira left the team, but as Markus Babbel was appointed in 2009, he was deprived of that role.
After leaving Stuttgart in 2008, Hitzlsperger had brief spells with West Ham, Wolfsburg, Lazio and Everton. However, a series of injuries which troubled him throughout the career had its toll and Hitzlsperger retired in 2013, at the age of 31.
After finishing his career, he returned to Stuttgart and in 2019 became the head of sport. He adopted a role in management, which he does great.
The career in the national team was also very brief. Yes, he managed to play 52 games and scored 6 goals, but he retired from the international duty at the very young age. There is always a feeling that Hitzlsperger’s career was not fully materialized, and we can only blame injuries.
Hitzlsperger is also known to be one of the highest-profile male footballers to come out as gay.
To this day Hitzlsperger has a special place in the hearts of Aston Villa supporters due to his style and devotion to the team. He is one of the players you would say to have a love for football, but unfortunately, we have not witnessed his full potential.