Dubai, 2nd June 2009
Last week’s One Cap Wonder was TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s Marvin Compper. This week, the series follows up with another Hoffenheim player who would make it into this unfortunate list, Tobias Weis.
Weis would make the squad for the match in Berlin against England along with team mate Compper, but would miss out on selection. However, he would make the trip to Asia and the Middle East following the close of the 2008-2009 season, where the Nationalmannschaft would take on China in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates in Dubai.
Having been promoted to the 1. Bundesliga the in 2007/08, Hoffenheim would make a considerable impact in their first season in the top flight. Having led the table at the winter break Ralf Rangnick’s side would drop off the pace somewhat, but would still finish the season in a highly creditable seventh place.
The form of the 1. Bundesliga new boys would continue to attract the attention of Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw. Right-back Compper would be followed into the national team by left-back Andreas Beck, and the third man to catch the coach’s eye would be twenty-three year old midfielder Weis.
Born in the town of Schwäbisch Hall in Baden-Württemberg, local boy Weis would fit the description of the skilful, diminutive midfielder in the mould of former internationals Thomas Häßler and Dariusz Wosz. Having started out with neighbours VfB Stuttgart, he would move to Hoffenheim in 2007 with the team having just achieved promotion from the Regionalliga-Süd. Weis would be almost permanent fixture during TSG 1899’s excellent first Bundesliga season, and his being named as part of what was largely an experimental squad for the 2009 summer tour would come as no surprise to many.
Weis would not start either game, but would finally some pitch time in the second game in Dubai against the United Arab Emirates – coming on in the sixty-sixth minute for Thomas Hitzlsperger and becoming the twenty-eighth debutant in the Löw era. By this time the Nationalelf would already be 6-1 up, with striker Mario Gómez having already completed his hat-trick.
Tobias Weis makes his one and only international appearance against the UAE in Dubai
Slotting into the four-man midfield, Weis would see his side go on to claim an emphatic 7-2 win as Gómez claimed a fourth goal. The young midfielder would have few opportunities to show off his skills and would be largely anonymous for the twenty-four minutes he would be on the field, but would have believed that there would be many more chances for him in the Nationaltrikot.
Sadly, the 2008/09 season would be the high point in Tobias Weis’ development – which has since seen him struggling with injury, indiscipline and a crisis of confidence. Having been touted as a target for a number of leading clubs including FC Bayern München in 2009, his career would take a sudden nosedive as a succession of injuries would take their toll. He would only manage forty-five appearances in the following three seasons, and things would reach their nadir in 2011 when he was dropped to the second team by coach Markus Babbel.
Babbel’s subsequent dismissal in December 2012 and his replacement with caretaker coach Frank Kramer would see Weis back in the first team, and the appointment of Markus Gisdol in January 2013 would see things brighten considerably for the talented but temperamental midfielder. Weis’ return to form would coincide with a change in fortunes for his struggling side, who in looking to force their way out of the relegation zone would register a crucial 3-0 triumph over fellow strugglers Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Perhaps more significantly, this glimmer of hope for Hoffenheim would coincide with Weis’ first goal for the club in his ninety-second appearance.
With the current German squad blessed with an array of talented midfielders, it is difficult to see how Tobias Weis could ever work his way back into the international fold and not end his footballing career as one of the many one cap wonders of the Nationalmannschaft. But we can at least hope that he is able to return to full fitness, and at least realise some of that great potential.