Chris Richards stepped back on the field for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on Saturday, making his long and awaited return after two months out through injury.
Richards played the final 45 minutes of Hoffenheim’s 2-1 loss to Bochum, making his first club appearance since Jan. 22. The U.S. men’s national team centerback had been sidelined due to a foot injury which he suffered on international duty back in January.
The 22-year-old replaced Kevin Akpoguma at halftime and logged an important 45 minutes in his return to full fitness. Richards made two interceptions, won one duel, and completed over 81% of his passes in his substitute appearance.
Despite David Raum tying the match for Hoffenheim in the 54th minute, Bochum’s Takuma Asano scored the eventual winner in the 59th minute.
Richards is on his second loan spell from fellow Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and just made his 21st appearance in all competitions this season. The American defender has been linked with an exit from Bayern Munich this summer despite having three years left on his current contract.
”We created good opportunities, but we weren’t able to make the most of them,” Richards said. “Unfortunately, we lacked focus in the key moments. The defeat obviously stings, we’ll have to put it to the back of our minds this coming week and do better in Leipzig.”
Richards has earned six caps to date with the USMNT and remains one of several centerbacks fighting to earn a spot in Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup roster later this year.
Hoffenheim has six league matches left on its schedule and will travel to RB Leipzig on April 10.