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Jan Kirchhoff's poor Sunderland debut highlights why Bayern Munich moved on

The former Bayern Munich center back endured a difficult debut against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Jan Kirchhoff's one-million-euro move to Sunderland last week made sense for everyone involved. Bayern Munich unloaded a center back whose time at the club can only be described as underwhelming, and Sunderland took a gamble by investing in an inexpensive opportunity to shore up their rickety defense. Meanwhile, the oft-injured defender had a chance to revive his sputtering, bandaged career.

With the score level at one apiece against Tottenham, Sam Allardyce made it clear that he was prepared to settle for a point when he brought Kirchhoff on for Danny Graham in the 59th minute. This strategy did not pay off; however, as Tottenham scored the go-ahead goal before the German had experienced a full sixty seconds of Premier League football. In fact, Kirchhoff's bad day at the office was just beginning, and the goal seemed an ominous prognostication of what would ultimately be a disappointing debut performance. Five minutes later, Christian Eriksen's strike from over twenty yards out took a deflection off of Kirchhoff's leg and curled into the top-right corner of the goal. Things went from bad to worse when a careless challenge on Danny Rose by the Frankfurt-born defender led to a penalty for Tottenham. Kirchhoff could only look on as Harry Kane converted, bringing the tally to three goals in the twenty minutes that he had been on the pitch.

Very few Bayern fans protested Kirchhoff's move to Sunderland when it happened. Breaking free from the periphery of the team was always going to be an uphill battle, and Kirchhoff was rarely fit during his time in Munich. He has been plagued by a number of injuries over the course of his entire career, including his time with Mainz and Schalke. Furthermore, his ineffective loan with the latter club seemed to foreshadow the inevitable departure of yet another young German prospect who failed to demonstrate the potential required to become a regular in the Bayern Munich first team. Regardless of what happened in the past, Kirchhoff's next step is clear: he needs to put today's performance behind him and focus on endearing himself to the Sunderland faithful by staying healthy and performing consistently, something he was never able to do in a Bayern Munich shirt.

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