Bayern Munich boss Jurgen Klinsmann believes Hoffenheim have enough quality to challenge for the Bundesliga title this season.
After nine matches of the campaign, Ralf Rangnick's side are top of the table having won six matches, scoring 24 goals in the process.
Rangnick has played down his side's title credentials, but Klinsmann was impressed by Hoffenheim's 3-0 demolition of Hamburg at the weekend, the village side's third successive victory.
He said: "Right at the start of the season, before a ball had been kicked, I said Hoffenheim were contenders for a place in Europe at the minimum.
"Their team has been meticulously put together according to a solid strategic plan, and they'll go a long way.
"TSG are full of quality, the club is solid as a rock, and they're under no pressure from the media. No-one expects miracles from their players, so they're good for surprise after surprise every week.
"They'll finish in the top five - and on the evidence of the first nine games, you've got to assume they're genuine rivals and contenders for the title."