Interview | Berghof Group

Six questions to Tobias Heinzelmann

September 5, 2023

Talent. Passion. Team spirit. What characterizes the Berghof DNA "Moving Forward" makes Tobias Heinzelmann a very important pillar of his team. Why his fans see him as a special identification figure, why handball fascinates him over and over again, and why team sports have a very special quality for him, is revealed to us in an interview by the HBW Balingen-Weilstetten handball pro, who plays under the patronage of the Berghof Group.

You started playing handball when you were just five years old. So this sport has been playing a defining role in your life for almost 20 years. What fascinates you about this sport, and what motivates you time and time again?

Handball is a very fast, athletic sport that challenges you as a player both physically and mentally.

And this is true for the entire duration of a game: There are hardly any rest periods in handball, every game can turn completely within a very short time.

That's why you always need to be fully on top of things and at your best. You can't afford to be slack. The whole team needs you and your strengths and counts on you.

This offers a special opportunity: When things go well, as they did for us last season, there's a real pull that carries everyone along.

Shared success creates a bond and a very special team spirit. And connections are made that go far beyond the sport and enrich my life.

A very valuable experience.

That sounds as if team sports and also working in a team has a very special quality for you and as if it gives you a lot personally?

Yes, definitely. I like being part of a strong, successful team and think it’s nice to dedicate myself and my strengths for the common goal and, in return, to benefit from the strengths of others and learn from them.

Of course, each of us also has his own individual goals. But to achieve them, each of us has to do his best – that is what pushes us all.

And if one member of the team isn't doing so well, we motivate him and lift him up with us.

There is this well-known saying: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that's absolutely true in team sports.

And with successful companies, of course, it's just the same. The Berghof Group is the best example of this. I have already felt this clearly during my first visit to Berghof.

Almost 20 years of success in handball – that certainly adds up to a lot of unforgettable moments of success. Is there an event that particularly stands out in your memory?

Yes, definitely. This is the game in which we clinched the 2nd Bundesliga championship and direct promotion to the 1st Bundesliga ahead of schedule last season.

Of course, with the possible big victory in sight, we were more motivated than ever – and played like we were in trance. On this day, everything just worked out, everyone went above and beyond.

The whole arena was upside down, the atmosphere was simply incredible – pure goose bumps and shivers!

For such unique moments, it's definitely worth it to train hard all year, often twice a day, to get better and better.

That's why I can identify 100 percent with the Berghof DNA "Moving Forward" and why I am very proud and happy to play under the patronage of the Berghof Group.

Whether in competitive sports or in professional life: Hard work, perseverance and team spirit are the keys to success – and setbacks exist to learn from them and do even better in the future.

I think it's important to always keep on evolving and learning from others – and to always be passionate and have fun while doing it.

Especially at home games, one thing becomes clear very quickly: you are a very special identification figure for the fans of HBW Balingen-Weilstetten. That certainly doesn't just have to do with your performance on the court, does it?

Of course, my performance plays an important role. But there's more to it than that.

HBW has a clear model for success: From the region – for the region. What has been created here has a lot to do with personal bonds and love for the region. Many of our partners are internationally successful, yet deeply rooted in the region – like the Berghof Group.

This personal bond is also reflected in my own story. After all, fans obviously are aware that I'm a child of the region, my family lives just 20 minutes from Balingen by car.

HBW Balingen-Weilstetten’s great youth work was my chance to make it to the professional level without having to give up my personal environment, which is very important to me – and I took that chance. I signed my first professional contract here at the end of 2021, fulfilling my big dream.

The club has also given me the best possible support in building up a solid professional foundation alongside my professional career, with my mechanical engineering studies and my part-time job at one of our partner companies.

I'm incredibly grateful for that – and of course that's also expressed in the passion and energy with which I make my contribution to our successes. I simply want to give back as much as I can every minute I'm on the pitch.

I think the fans feel that very clearly. And they know that, like all our partners, I have deep roots in the region. That's why they can identify so well with me.

In turn, I feel the fans' solidarity with me every minute I'm on the pitch. A very nice feeling that gives me an extra boost.

Last season was the best of your career so far. You scored 90 goals. As we've heard from the team, you have a new nickname in the team ever since?

(Laughs) Yes, that's true. My teammates have been calling me "Magnetovic" for some time now – because I've always managed to catch and control the ball in very difficult situations.

But I can live very well with this nickname (laughs loudly).

All joking aside, last season was the best proof of how much shared success can pull everyone in the team along and take them to new heights. We all outgrew ourselves, proved to ourselves what we are capable of.

That gives us the self-confidence we need to hopefully make a mark or two in the top league of German handball in the new season.

That is our common goal, for which we have been working harder than ever during the preparation. Because resting on our laurels from last season is of course not an option for us – that's another strong analogy to Berghof's DNA.

Speaking of reaching new heights: As a professional, if you're constantly pushing yourself to the limit physically and mentally, you have to pay close attention to your regeneration. What is the best way for you to relax and recharge your batteries?

I gain energy from nature, and I like to go for long walks with my girlfriend. We live right on the edge of the forest and have the best conditions for this.

In nature, I can literally take a deep breath and talk about topics other than handball – that's exactly where I can best recharge my batteries.

And I've always loved tinkering and crafting. That's why my teammates like to see me not only as a playmate on the pitch, but also in their free time – as a craftsman (laughs).