Matthew Hoppe: Why Hibs was 'right move', Bundesliga hat-trick, €3.5m La Liga transfer, Europe aim

At 21 years of age, Matthew Hoppe has packed plenty into his career. There was time with the Barcelona residency academy before a move to German giants Schalke 04 where he became the first American to score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga. A switch to Mallorca in La Liga for €3.5million followed in 2021. During all of that there were eight caps for the his national team and a Gold Cup success.

Yet, it has been a difficult last 18 months for the forward, first in Spain then more recently with Championship side Middlesbrough, injury and health issues plus a lack of game time. Hibs was an opportunity. An opportunity which you can tell he has been desperate for, delivering impactful performances off the bench in his first two outings, the latest a goal-scoring role in the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock. The move, which materialised late in the window, took little convincing. A versatile forward, the player's preference is striker but you get the sense he would play anywhere Lee Johnson told him to and do so with a can-do attitude.

"I was hungry to play and it was a no-brainer to come up here," Hoppe said. “I'm happy we got it sorted on the last day and I wouldn't change a thing. I left my agent to take care of most of the aspects of the move because I just want to focus on football wherever I am - or soccer. I trust him, I trust the sporting directors, and I think it was the right move."

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Hoppe gives the sense of a player not looking beyond the next few months, instead preferring to live in the moment, of playing regularly and enjoying his football. Understandable for someone on to their fourth country at such a nascent stage in their career.

Europe aim

"I just want to help the team and help them qualify for Europe and other than that, my personal aims are to get goals for myself, help get goals for my team-mates, grow my game in different aspects whether it's my hold-up play or my movement and keep working hard every day," Hoppe said.

"I think it's important when you're adapting to a new league to get a goal as fast as you can to get some momentum and build yourself into the team. It's important, and I'm happy I was able to get it so early.

"My time in Europe has been full of ups and downs but I've got to stay consistent and keep helping the team."

Matthew Hoppe had a positive impact off the bench for Hibs. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Matthew Hoppe had a positive impact off the bench for Hibs. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Matthew Hoppe had a positive impact off the bench for Hibs. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

He added: "It's easier to adapt to the team having moved from England to Scotland because I don't have to learn a new language or anything. Being able to adapt to what the team and the coach needs from me is the most important part - whether it's different formations or whatever else the game throws at you. You just have to be ready to adjust and help the team in whatever way you can.

"In Spain they focus a lot on the technique, and in Germany it's more the tactical side of the game. Here, it's a lot more physical and I think it's helping to shape me into a good player.”



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