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Report: Justin Che to join Hoffenheim on loan

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.


    • Hard to say what it says about Che. They’ve got two German CBs on their Bayern II team that are about the same age. They’re starting a 23 year old and 19 year old for the first team plus Sule and Hernandez are just in their mid 20s. They’re pretty set at CB for the next 4 to 5 years, so they aren’t going to spend big. Seems FCD didn’t have any “big” offers if they’re just loaning him. It was a gamble for FCD to keep him this Summer might still workout if he does well and gets more after his time in Hoffenheim if he struggles they get him back next year as a decent MLS defender. Usually this time of year a group goes from FCD to train at Bayern maybe I missed it but didn’t hear anything this. Maybe it’s Covid or the short mls offseason or maybe the sides have soured some.

    • I agree with Razor, the fact it’s not BM says nothing about Che.
      I actually kind of like this move. Che will have a chance with Hoffenheim, and he’ll have someone there to help him integrate. It could also pay dividends for the USMNT if Richards & Che build some familiarity/chemistry at the club level as they could be our starting CB pairing after 2022.

      • Agree on most points. I wonder though if one of these guys will be moved out wide to a RWB position or RCB back in a back three. I don’t see us doing a traditional two back pairing for a while now. The talent pool and the style of playing the game has moved beyond the tradition of 442 or 4231 set up. Three in the back has become en vogue and the de facto play style for many of the top teams both internationally and domestic.

      • So…the prevalent take on Che is, he’s not as athletic as Richards but he’s a better long passer, a lot better on the ball, and much better at breaking lines. Kind of odd that he fell out of favor with Bayern because he seems to be more of a Bayern-type guy even than Richards is.

        I do wonder what happened there…and I agree Hoffenheim is a good destination that would seem to suit the US’s interests as well as Che’s.

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