Chris Richards says his loan switch from Bayern Munich to Hoffenheim this season has worked out perfectly, as he hopes to push on from the experience by getting a regular game for years to come.
In fact, the three-time USA international has missed just one match since moving to Sebastian Hoeneß's side, with an injury forcing him out of the 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund, and he told bundesliga.com how justified he now feels about making the switch.
"I didn't play too much at Bayern, so that's why I came here and the level is just as big here," he said. "I'm really happy with how this loan’s going. I want to be where I’m going to play week in, week out, so that’s just what I'm hoping for this next season."
Watch: Richards: "The level is just as big as at Bayern"
Although the terms of the agreement between the two Bundesliga clubs stipulate that Richards should return to Munich at the end of the current campaign, the impression he has made at the heart of the Hoffenheim defence could see all parties benefit from an extension to encompass the 2021/22 season.
Richards certainly has plenty of admirers in Hoffenheim, not least in head coach Hoeneß.
"Chris arrived relatively inexperienced," he said recently. "But he's shown from the off that he can make it in the Bundesliga. I've known him a long time and it's extremely fun to work with him."
The former FC Dallas rookie was given his debut for Bayern's U19s by Hoeneß back in August 2018, and he became a cornerstone of a side which finished fourth at U19 level that season, in addition to gaining international experience in the UEFA Youth League.
When Hoeneß was promoted to become head coach of Bayern's reserve team in 2019/20, Richards was one of the players he took with him, and they eventually celebrated winning the 3. Liga title together.
Now reunited at Hoffenheim, Hoeneß is once again getting the best out of Richards in what has all the hallmarks of a mutually beneficial situation which could well continue.