09 Oct Richards: U.S. ‘most respect’ sub-par Germany
Germany has a record of 2-4-1 so far in 2023, with a recent 2-1 friendly victory over France ending a run of three straight losses — including a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Japan. That last defeat cost manager Hansi Flick his job, with Julian Nagelsmann taking his place.
Richards, who spent parts of four seasons with Bayern Munich and on loan at TSG Hoffenheim said Germany’s talent requires the U.S. to believe that the four-time World Cup champions will bring their best on Saturday.
“I think regardless of recent results, we have the most respect for Germany and I don’t think anybody looks at the schedule and sees Germany and thinks it’s going to be an easy win,” Richards said on a conference call with reporters. “I think regardless of what team Germany puts out there, regardless of what’s going on in the background, we know they’re going to field a strong team.
“And having played in Germany for four-ish years, you kind of tend to learn the German mentality and they’re all work, no play. So we expect a game like that this weekend and really looking forward to winning.”
The match amounts to a rare test for the U.S. against European opposition. The last time the U.S. played a European side with at least most of its first-choice roster was in May of 2021, when the Americans lost 2-1 to Switzerland.
With the U.S. co-hosting the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, there will be no qualification process to go through. Therefore, it will be important for Gregg Berhalter’s team to get the most out Saturday’s match, as well as a second friendly three days later against Ghana in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I think us as a national team, we try not to focus too much on the opponents, but focus on ourselves and getting better leading up to the World Cup,” Richards said. “So we’re really going to use this game to just continue to grow and to continue to push forward.”
U.S. assistant coach B.J. Callaghan confirmed that PSV Eindhoven attacker Malik Tillman will miss both matches due to an unspecified injury he picked up in last weekend’s 4-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam, a match in which he scored PSV’s opener.
“It’s an unfortunate injury for Malik,” Callaghan said. “He’s been in really good form somebody that we’re looking forward to having in and we certainly wish him a speedy recovery.”