Hoffenheim midfielder Angelo Stiller left Bayern Munich last summer with something to prove.
The defensive midfielder thought he was climbing the club ladder in Bavaria, when the front office brought in both Tiago Dantas and Marc Roca. For Stiller, it was a gut-punch...or in his words: “A slap in the face.”
“It was like a slap in the face. I was counting on getting the chance to go up and being able to train (with the first team). Then on the last day I learned from the press that players were signed to play in my position, so of course I was shocked and not happy about it,” Stiller told Sky Germany.
Stiller felt a little disrespected and also like his developmental path would be blocked. Moreover, Stiller said he did not hear anything from the club’s front office to help give him guidance on where they viewed him within the roster. While he was perhaps a little bitter in the moment, Stiller knows that the club cannot take a hands-on approach to everyone.
“They also have a lot to do. They can’t take everyone aside and say, ‘Hey, here’s the deal, here’s how we plan with you,’” said Stiller, noting that he would have appreciated a conversation on where his career might be headed.
Even with some hard feelings, Stiller knows this is all part of his journey. The 20-year-old could even potentially picture a return to Die Roten at some point, but for now, he is only focused on Hoffenheim.
“To be honest, I’m not thinking about that yet. I now have a few more years in Hoffenheim. I feel very comfortable here and am just looking forward to the next time. What comes, that comes. What doesn’t, that doesn’t,” Stiller said.
In the end, Stiller was probably right to feel at least a bit slighted. Dantas was dainty for the Bundesliga and flamed out before ever really getting started, while Roca’s most memorable moment for the club was a missed penalty kick in the team’s loss to Holstein Kiel in last season’s DFB-Pokal.