American defender Chris Richards enjoyed a win on his full Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich on Matchday 3 against Hertha Berlin and claimed an assist in the 4-3 victory, which would have been two if not for Thomas Müller.
Birmingham, Alabama-born Richards will have had a swarm of butterflies in his stomach before kick-off at the Allianz Arena on Sunday. The 20-year-old was named in Hansi Flick's starting line-up for the first time in the Bundesliga, playing at right-back ahead of FIFA World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard.
The American and Bayern had Robert Lewandowski to thank as he scored all four goals in their late 4-3 win over Hertha, but the Pole had Richards to thank for his second goal of the game after his floated cross landed perfectly on Lewandowski's head in front of goal after 51 minutes.
It would have been Richards' second assist of the game had Müller not been offside in the first half. Richards showed his crossing capabilities from right-back - despite preferring to play in the centre of defence - as he curled in an inch perfect cross for Müller to head home after 36 minutes, only for Video Assist to pull the goal back.
"If I weren't so clever as to stand offside, Chris would've had two assists today," Müller told bundesliga.com after the game. "Let's hope he can build on this and I hope he hasn't hurt himself, I don't know what happened."
Richards did hurt himself in the game and watched the drama at the end from the sidelines after being replaced by Pavard after 65 minutes. It appeared to be a calf problem for the defender as he limped off the pitch with the score at 2-1.
Richards impressed before going off, even without a second assist. The right-back won five duels, created two shots on goal, had that assist for Lewandowski and had the second-most touches of any Bayern player before leaving the pitch midway through the second half.
"He's good because he's brought his talent from the USA and because Bayern have taught him very well so far," Müller said. "But it goes without saying there’s plenty of room for improvement.
"We've got a few good youngsters with quality. Of course, they aren't there yet in terms of experience… It was his first start in the league, but it's nice we can bring the youngsters because we see they can keep up with the flow in our game."
As the Bundesliga now heads into an international break, Richards will be looking to recover from his injury to be available for Bayern's next Bundesliga outing against Arminia Bielefeld on 17 October.
With his performance against Hertha, the young American looks set to be Bayern's back-up option at right-back for time to come.
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