Under the leadership of Pellegrino Matarazzo, Hoffenheim earned European qualification for the first time since the 2019/20 campaign. The head coach then was Julian Nagelsmann, who went to RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich and now the Germany national team. Now, in Matarazzo’s second season in charge of Hoffenheim, the club finished seventh in the Bundesliga. That is enough for at least the Europa Conference League.

However, Hoffenheim’s fate for next season is not certain. It can only get better, as there is a chance Hoffenheim receives a spot in next season’s Europa League. If Bayer Leverkusen wins this weekend’s DFB-Pokal Final over Kaiserslautern, the team finishing seven earns a spot in the secondary European competition. The reason is that the winner of the DFB-Pokal earns a spot in the Europa League. Leverkusen, which finished atop the Bundesliga table, earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League. That Europa League position gets passed to the team finishing seventh. Consequently, the Conference League Spot Hoffenheim currently occupies falls to Heidenheim in eighth.

Therefore, Leverkusen will have two massive supporters when it plays Kaiserslautern. Not only is Heidenheim hoping to clinch a European spot for the first time in the club’s history. Hoffenheim can continue to grow under Pellegrino Matarazzo, who has clearly emerged as one of the best American coaches in soccer.

Hoffenheim has been a team showing potential over one-and-a-half years with Matarazzo. Initially off to a rough start with five losses in a row, Matarazzo steadied the ship and forced some strong results in the Bundesliga. Seventeen points from the team’s last 10 games pulled the side from the bottom of the league to 12th. That included a draw against Bayern Munich and a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hoffenheim European qualification shows Matarazzo’s ability

This season, Hoffenheim has been one of the thorns in the side of the best clubs. Leverkusen struggled against Hoffenheim, but Xabi Alonso’s side did win both games with late goals. A 4-2 win over Bayern Munich on the final matchday topped off a phenomenal season. Likewise, Hoffenheim picked up wins over Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and other teams finishing in the top half of the Bundesliga table.

These performances have allowed Matarazzo’s stock to rise. While other American coaches have floundered, Matarazzo has done well. Jesse Marsch struggled in the Bundesliga, Gregg Berhalter leaves American fans frustrated with lackluster performances and Jim Curtin has only experienced Major League Soccer. Those were the three names that looked the most likely to take over the USMNT job, at least among the Americans.

That leaves it especially puzzling that the United States failed to properly consider Matarazzo. When talking to ESPN, the Hoffenheim manager said US Soccer contacted him. Yet, that seems to be the extent of the process in analyzing Matarazzo as a replacement for Berhalter.

Hoffenheim will not be a club to complain. Despite spending just $45 million this season on transfers, Hoffenheim saw massive improvement offensively. The club scored 19 more goals than it did last season, even if the defensive performances have tapered off.

Should the club continue this development, and earn a spot in next season’s Europa League, Matarazzo could impress clubs looking for a new manager.