The young American had not been used much in Munich, but was very impressive in his appearances under manager Hansi Flick. So...what gives?
As expected, the move is simply to get Richards more field time against a high-level of competition. According to Sport1, Bayern Munich still has big plans for Richards:
Richards, who Flick thinks highly of, is expected to get some Bundesliga playing time at Hoffenheim under his former coach Sebastian Hoeneß. At Bayern, he is seen as a prospect in central defense.
Sport1 also insinuated that of all the highly-rated young talents at Säbener Straße, Richards and Jamal Musiala are among the few that have a long-term chance for success with the Bavarians.
For Richards, his prospects on the Bayern Munich backline could become more clear in the summer. David Alaba is likely leaving Bavaria, while Jerome Boateng (contracts ends after this season) and Niklas Süle (contract ends in 2022) could also exit. In addition, there is at least some chatter that Lucas Hernandez might not be 100% happy with his situation.
That said, Bayern Munich has been heavily linked to RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano and also has oft-injured prospect Tanguy Nianzou on its roster.
Whatever the case, there will be likely be some spirited competition for playing time on Bayern Munich’s backline next season.