Ricardo Pepi's "dream" of playing with Augsburg in the Champions League
Augsburg forward Ricardo Pepi has revealed his "dream" of playing UEFA Champions League football with the Fuggerstädter.
The 19-year-old recently made the move to Augsburg from FC Dallas and has already impressed in his first two Bundesliga outings, almost opening his account in the 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, when he had a goal chalked off after a VAR review.
He is expected to lead the Augsburg attack again at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, getting more of the minutes he had hoped for when joining the Bavarians, although he has revealed in SportBild magazine that he has even higher hopes with Augsburg.
"Augsburg were the best option for me," Pepi said. "They showed me the best prospects. Despite my age, I've been promised a lot of minutes here to develop on the pitch. I'm doing my best. I don't feel any pressure.
"I have a dream. I would love to play with Augsburg in the Champions League. That may sound crazy at the moment, but it's my goal. I've always had big dreams and that's the only way to progress."
Watch: Ricardo Pepi dreaming big
Augsburg's primary objective this season will be to avoid relegation to Bundesliga 2, with just a point separating them from the drop zone, and they hope Pepi will help them in that undertaking with his goals.
The youngster arrived with the second highest number of single-season strikes (13) for a teenager in MLS history, and three goals in seven USMNT caps.
Having penned a contract through to 2026, he has shown a level of commitment which supports his statement of wishing to dine with Augsburg at European football's top table, and it is something that he can help make reality.
"First we have to avoid relegation, start winning again but I’m convinced we’ll turn things around," Pepi' said
Watch: Pepi's arrival in Augsburg
Just seven seasons ago, Augsburg finished fifth in the Bundesliga under Weinzierl, qualifying for their hitherto one and only season of European football in the UEFA Europa League – an adventure which was ended somewhat fortuitously by former Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in the round of 32.
To help Pepi with his pursuit, he is taking inspiration from the best in the business.
"I admire Lewandowski and I want to reach his level," he said. "I can develop here [at Augsburg]. Not only through games, but [also] through intensive training sessions."
He is getting all of that in Augsburg, as well as being afforded the time a new recruit requires in unfamiliar surroundings, even if an immediate impact is desired.
“I have big respect for him coming from America to Germany," said Pepi's teammate Felix Uduokhai. "He will therefore need time, but I have faith in him that he can help us straight away and we saw a bit of that in the last game. But no question, he will need time [to settle in]."
American Soccer Players in Germany: 2022/23 weekly update
How are the likes of Gio Reyna, Jordan and Joe Scally getting on in 2022/23? We take a closer look...
Ricardo Pepi primed for breakout season
Given the trajectory of his compatriots, the USMNT forward could be set for a watershed 2022/23 campaign.
5 Americans to watch in 2022/23
All five young stars can shine brightly in the upcoming campaign. Here's why...