Two years ago, when Stuttgart were relegated from the Bundesliga, Nicolas Gonzalez had a decision to make.
Would he jump ship? Or stick around at the Mercedez Benz Arena and help the 2007 German champions climb back up the ladder?
In the end, it was the latter. Gonzalez scored 14 times during that short-lived stay in the second-tier, firing Stuttgart to promotion at the first time of asking before establishing himself as a bona fide Bundesliga star during an impressive first season back in the big leagues.
Whether Matthew Hoppe takes a leaf out of Gonzalez’s book, however, remains to be seen.
According to 90Min, four of the biggest clubs in the Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United – have all been tracking the 20-year-old American sensation in recent months.
One of the few bright sparks in a dismal season for Schalke, Hoppe’s five goals in 13 starts were not enough, in the end, to save the perennial crisis-club from an unavoidable relegation.
Schalke’s demotion was finally confirmed on Tuesday night, following a 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld.
So what now, for one of German football’s most exciting young attackers? As Gonzalez will tell you, sometimes it makes sense to step out of the limelight and hone your talents away from the glare of the top-flight microscope.
On the other hand, there is no guarantee that Hoppe will benefit from plying his trade, week in, week out, against weaker opposition in a poorer league.