Former Union Berlin midfielder Robert Andrich has shone at Bayer Leverkusen. bundesliga.com profiles the tough-tackling midfielder who has received his first full Germany international call-up...
Statistics correct as of 6 October 2023
Age: 29 (born 22 September 1994)
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Germany (18 youth caps)
Born 22 miles as the crow flies from the German capital, Andrich was just nine when he swapped Turbine Potsdam for Hertha Berlin. The 6'2" midfielder made his debut for the club's reserve team, but maxed out at 52 appearances across three seasons in Germany's fourth tier. A free transfer to Dynamo Dresden offered him a route to first-team football, which he seized with both hands. A Third Division champion with Dynamo in 2015/16, he spent the next two years at Wehen Wiesbaden, taking his 3. Liga tally to eight goals and nine assists in 80 outings.
Bundesliga 2 was the next rung on the ladder for Andrich, who was an integral part of the Heidenheim team that fell two points short of the promotion places with his four-goal, three-assist contribution. Bundesliga football followed as the ex-Germany U18,19 and 20 international made the summer 2019 switch to top-flight newcomers Union. The industrious right-footer scored his first Bundesliga goal on Matchday 30 of 2019/20, before striking a career-best five times the following year as Die Eisernen flew in the face of second-season syndrome by qualifying for the inaugural UEFA Conference League.
Andrich then joined Leverkusen in summer 2021, and quickly became a regular with his steely game. He played a key part of the club's resurgence under Xabi Alonso in 2022/23 - under which they made the UEFA Europa League semi-finals and great start to 2023/24. With his club sitting proudly at the top of the Bundesliga at the start of October 2023, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann called Andrich into his first national team squad.
Plays a bit like: Sami Khedira
There aren't many players outside the Bundesliga's top three who can match Andrich in terms of pure physicality and work rate. With a nose for the occasional goal too, there's a distinct whiff of retired 2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira about the Leverkusen forager's game.
Did you know?
Andrich comes from fine footballing stock. Uncle Frieder played as a striker for various clubs in the top tier of the former East Germany between 1966 and 1984, before embarking on a career in coaching in the lower leagues of a reunited Germany. He retired from the game in 2015.
Watch: Robert Andrich scored in a 5-0 win over former side Union Berlin in 2022/23
What they're saying
"He is a player who is incredibly active in defensive challenges, can be a kind of midfield destroyer, and he has an extraordinary will to win." - Nagelsmann following Andrich's first full international call-up
"Robert does a really honest job. I can see him moving him to a top Bundesliga club or a team in England. He's always improving, and has taken another big step - especially in terms of his athleticism. He's also safe in possession, a reliable passer of the ball and strong in the challenge." - Frieder Andrich, prior to his nephew's switch to Leverkusen
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