Bayer Leverkusen have announced the signing of Union Berlin midfielder Robert Andrich. bundesliga.com profiles the former Germany youth international...
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 has joined 2021/22 UEFA Europa League participants Leverkusen on a five-year deal, some 59 Bundesliga appearances better off than when he made the step up to the big time. He was Union's hardest-running player in 2020/21 (2135 intensive runs), and ranked second for pass completion (82.57 percent) and challenges won (55.85 percent).
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 steadily improving nose for goal, there's a distinct whiff of retired 2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira about the Leverkusen-bound forager's game.
Did you know?
Andrich comes from 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 was among the Union goals against Bielefeld last season
What they're saying
"Robert Andrich is an experienced and established Bundesliga player, who has continually improved at all his previous clubs." - Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes
"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