Richards’ Kontinental-Sprint

Central defender Chris Richards is planning a tight program: on Thursday in the USA against Costa Rica, on Friday with TSG Hoffenheim against Cologne.

On an exhausting international trip: Chris Richards.

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When the colleagues woke up well rested in Kraichgau that Thursday morning, Chris Richards had already played an international match on the same day and was on his way back from the USA to Germany. Ideally. “You have to see if everything works out as we imagine it to be, so that he is there on time,” said coach Sebastian Hoeneß on Wednesday, who of course also has other questions besides logistical questions: “He may even be able to do so on Do you train on Thursday? How is he together? Was he able to sleep on the plane? “, Said Hoeneß, who is reluctant to do without his tried and tested defender in the all-important home game on Friday evening against 1. FC Köln.

However, the 21-year-old has to do a smooth continental sprint. At 1 a.m. on Thursday, the Americans’ World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica kicked off in Columbus, Ohio. The hosts with Richards over the full distance won a hard-fought game 2-1 and scored three important points on the way to the World Cup in Qatar. With two games to go, the USA are now in second place with eleven points, the first three have qualified, and they are three points ahead of fourth place (Panama).

Posch and Akpoguma as alternatives

Richards successfully completed the first stage. Now it will be interesting to see whether the accelerated return campaign will work as planned. And in what condition he arrives at TSG. “You have to wait and see, I have to decide based on my gut feeling and a conversation with the player,” assured Hoeneß. As alternatives, if the clock should be too high for Richards, Stefan Posch and Kevin Akpoguma offer themselves in central defense. Both were also in action with their national teams from Austria and Nigeria, but have long since returned. Without time difference and jet lag.

Incidentally, the Norwegian Havard Nordtveit is not yet a real alternative. “It’s still too early. He’s been in team training for a long time, but he’s been missing for a relatively long time, so you shouldn’t be too hasty,” said Hoeneß, “he’ll definitely need a good week of training, maybe two. In those he continuously goes along with everything. ” Nordtveit had torn a muscle fiber in his thigh at the training camp in Rottach-Egern, which later opened up again.

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