Justin Che missed out on a permanent move to Bayern Munich last summer, but now the 18-year-old defender could be playing in the Bundesliga this year under different colors.
Che will be joining TSG Hoffenheim in the German top flight on an 18-month loan, according to a report from German outlet Sport 1. The report also stated that Che had offers from the Netherlands and England.
At Hoffenheim, Che would join up with fellow American and fellow FC Dallas academy product Chris Richards. Richards has become a key player in Hoffenheim’s three-man backline, making 16 appearances this season. Richards previously played at Bayern Munich before joining Hoffenheim on loan in 2020, a move which was later followed up with a second spell last fall.
Che played 584 minutes in eight appearances with Bayern Munich II in the 3. Liga during a loan spell in the 2020-21 season.
Che was reportedly nearing a permanent deal with Bayern Munich in June, but Bayern opted to leave Che with FC Dallas and wait until the next transfer window. That report, from German outlet Bild, stated that Bayern intended to add Che at a later date, but the new report from Sport 1 stated that “interest has cooled off” from Bayern in recent months.
The extended stay at FC Dallas turned into a positive thing for Che. He made his first MLS appearances and became a regular in the lineup in the late stages of the season. Che finished the season with 15 appearances, 12 starts and three assists. Che is a centerback who has also played wingback on many occasions for FC Dallas.
Che has not made an appearance for the senior U.S. men’s national team yet, but he has been called into two camps. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter most recently called Che into the December 2021 camp, during which the team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 in Carson, California.
Hoffenheim is enjoying an excellent season at the halfway point in the Bundesliga. The club sits fourth, just one point behind third-place Leverkusen. Hoffenheim will surely aim for a spot in the UEFA Champions League with a top-four finish as the season continues.