Chris Richards, Bayern Munich’s 20-year old American defender, earned his first ever Bundesliga start for the Bavarians in their dramatic, 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin last weekend. The youngster put in a solid shift before being subbed off in the 65th minute to be replaced by Benjamin Pavard for what appeared to be a significant case of cramping in his leg.
Richards provided the assist for Robert Lewandowski’s second goal of the match and very well could’ve ended the match with a brace of assists had Thomas Muller not been marginally offside for his header midway through the first half.
Speaking to Bayern’s official website, Richards described earning his first senior start for the club as a massive honor. The start also saw Richards become the first American international to start a Bundesliga match for Bayern. Previously, only Landon Donovan and Julian Green had been used a substitutes in league matches for Bayern.
“It was incredible to be in the starting line-up. Having the opportunity to be on the field with these players was an amazing experience and made a lifelong dream come true for me. It is a great honor to be the first U.S. player in Bayern’s Bundesliga starting line-up,” Richards told Bayern’s website.
In addition to providing an assist to Lewandowski and a (marginally offside) cross for Muller, Richards also had three key passes in the match and boasted a pass success rate of 89.6%. Even a neutral spectator would’ve found it hard to believe it was his full senior squad debut with how well he performed and his was hardly at fault for any of Berlin’s three goals. The positive performance is certainly a refreshing sign of things to come from the youngster, as he’s proven he stand stand firm to the task against difficult opponents.
The assist that counted to Lewandowski:
Chris Richards provides the assist for Robert Lewandowski's goal! pic.twitter.com/63h4AwA3m2— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 4, 2020
Hansi Flick also had high praise for Richards after his milestone moment.
“Chris Richards did a good job. It wasn’t an easy game for him. You can be very happy with your starting XI debut. It can go on like this,” Flick said of the 20-year old’s first senior squad start.