Marcel Hoppe is a 23-year-old left back and left midfielder for FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the Regionalliga Nordost (German 4th tier). He stands at 178 cm with an average to slim build and quality quickness up and down the wing. He utilizes this pace, decent agility, and a high work rate to showcase some of the most consistent talent outside of the top three tiers. Hoppe has contributed 2 goals and 3 assists in 28 matches (only one start missed and came on as a sub). He shows discipline in defense, too, despite playing with considerable aggression for his size. The Zeiss Jena lefty has only been booked for two yellow cards this season. His main drawback physically is he strength, although it is admirable for his size and that aggression makes it less notable. To pair with all his physical and statistical feats, Hoppe deservedly re-signed through 2025 on March 17th. It remains to be seen if Zeiss Jena could resist a potential transfer fee in the summer window.
Defensively, Hoppe is tactically flexible showing the ability to press high in a more advanced wingback role and stay back to defend in a more traditional back four. His positioning has promise and his attentiveness shows—he is rarely caught off guard and is constantly knees bent on his toes. On the contrary, his aggression in closeouts gets the best of him at times and skill/technique can beat him. Hoppe’s short area quickness aids in these scenarios as the combination of pace and hustle to get in is admirable and keeps situations from getting worse. His recovery runs in transition and to get over to cover are made in a timely manner and he uses his defensive IQ to know where to be. Additionally, the IQ combines with his instincts to make Hoppe a decent interceptor of the ball, cutting out passing lanes and picking up meaningful blocks and interceptions. In duels, this is where he is most aggressive. He puts in stand tackles to nick the ball out of his opponent’s possession relentlessly, especially when higher up the pitch or pushed up against the wing. Hoppe uses the position on the pitch to his advantage and frustrates attackers. His main negatives on the defensive end are size and decision-making, especially given his minimal effort in aerial duels. The decision-making is not the worst, but moving up levels, it must improve. The potential to get better is great as the rasher decisions are ones that would help his team given refinement of his technique that has continued throughout the season.
On the attack, Hoppe provided great wide support and can even work inside at times. His overlapping support runs showcase his pace, and he receives in stride well with soft touch. Moving forward he ball carries with confidence and a tight dribble, most often using speed to beat his marker 1v1. Creating that space with pace allows him to pull the trigger on long crosses in the box, accurately hitting them and causing danger for the opposition. After distributing he continues his run and stays available for his teammates. In the buildup, Hoppe is often a key piece for Zeiss Jena to progress with. He receives well short and distributes with precision on the ground even when facing pressure. His back and side passes are made with ease, and he looks to break lines with his passes from the back, too. Hoppe’s vision from the wing is second to none on his squad. Despite his successes offensively utilizing the wide areas and pace, his ability to win with skill is not nonexistent but is lacking and needs improvement if he is going to continue to try to work the inside. In addition, Hoppe does not hesitate on opportunities to finish and has scored from long distance with top quality. On set pieces, he is one of the main contributors at corner taker and does well to put in accurate crosses, even picking up an assist He has a specific skillset on the attack and does it quite well, mixing in some other interesting traits to develop in the process.
In defense, Hoppe is a tactical fit for most clubs in Germany and is a left back that can sure up a back four or five. On the attack, it would be best if he works in a system where he is encouraged to take advantage of wide areas and put in a high volume of crosses. Additionally, Hoppe should be put in a position to use his vision with direct play often. A team that could utilize his attacking abilities well could be Heidenheim if not promoted.
Overall, Hoppe has elite vision and crossing ability with his left foot and dominant athleticism for his size down the wing. As an offensive-minded full back, his defensive work rate and technique is admirable already and has shown signs of improvement. The combination of these factors makes him a player performing above his current level and one deserving a move up. His skillset would make him perfect for 3. Liga, although I would not question a 2. Bundesliga side’s decision to sign him up this summer, as Transfermarkt values him at only €100K. The upside to his game will make him hard to resist for German clubs this summer.