Marco Richter joined FC Augsburg when he was 14 years old. Four years later, he would set a record in the Regionalliga Bayern after scoring seven goals in a single game. Since then, the striker has become a key part of the FCA first team, as he takes a look back on his path to the Bundesliga.
Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out the first time around. Marco Richter crossed paths with FC Augsburg in 2004, when the club reached out to a seven-year-old Richter after he impressed at a tournament in Bachern. Back then, FCA were unfortunate to be up against FC Bayern in the bid to win over Richter. In the end, the desire to wear the record champions’ colours won out for Richter at the time. He was invited to attend a talent showcase in Munich and was able to stand out.
But, as the years went on, Richter received less and less playing time with the Munich club and he wasn’t happy with his situation. “I wanted to do something new,” he says now, with an eye back on that time. With the help of his father, Christian, he found a new club in 2012: FC Augsburg. Christian Richter was coaching the FCA U19s at that time, and helped organise a first meeting. After that, things went relatively quickly. “He arranged for me to take part in a trial with the U15s. After one session, they said that they would take me,” said Richter.
Finding his way to FCA
And so, Richter found himself at Augsburg at 14 years old, not far from his hometown of Friedberg. “I didn’t regret this step at all,” he says today, especially with no longer having to do the daily commute to Munich. “I was happy to be with my family,” said Richter, who could count on the support of his inner circle.
On the pitch, Richter’s early days at FCA got off to a slow start. Richter played only a few times for the U15s, but was later named captain of the U16s. In 2013/14 he was a regular with the U17s, and made 24 league appearances. However, the team ended the season being relegated from the U19 Bundesliga. The following season, Richter moved up to the U19s and made 25 appearances on his way to becoming a key part of the team, but his season once again ended in relegation. “However, after that came a good year,” said Richter and added “I played for both the U19s and U23s in order to get used to the higher level of play.”
Two records in the Regionalliga Bayern
In 2016/17, Richter exploded, scoring 24 goals in 27 matches in the Regionalliga Bayern. Seven of these goals came in a single game against SV Seligenporten. The then 18-year-old striker set a new league record, and the final scoreline of 12-0 remains a league record to this day. “It made the news everywhere, and I was on several football sites,” Richter said. “Everyone was there. My parents, my siblings, Oma and Opa. The weather was also good. I have very good memories from that day.”
What remained were more than just the good memories, but also his chances of moving up to the FCA first team. “I think that’s what convinced people that I could be effective in front of goal,” he said. In July 2017, Richter joined the first team at their summer training camp and was able to show what he was capable of. Despite not being selected for the matchday squad at the start of the 2017/18 Bundesliga season, Richter only had to wait until matchday 8 to make his debut. Richter was a late addition to the squad that would face TSG Hoffenheim, because he was due to face 1860 München the following day with the FCA U23s. Tickets were in such high demand for the match that it was moved to the WWK ARENA, and it would become yet another highlight of Richter’s career.
A turbulent closing phase to his Bundesliga debut
Augsburg were down 1-0 at the break against Hoffenheim, and things didn’t look good for FCA. Head coach Manuel Baum was looking to add some more attacking firepower to his offence, and called Richter to his side. But, just as he was about to be subbed on, “Gregoritsch struck one home from 25 metres out,” Richter says with a smile. With the scoreline level once more, Richter was sent back to the sidelines to continue warming up. Five minutes before the final whistle, Hoffenheim once again took the lead. This time, Richter was handed his opportunity. “I hadn’t expected that anymore at that point,” said Richter, but “I already had my shin pads back on and was ready to go.” He entered the game and was able to watch as Hoffenheim’s Kevin Vogt scored an own goal. “I was right up close and wanted to cause some chaos. I nearly got on the end of the ball,” are how Richter remembers the final minutes of the match.
The weeks that followed sped by. The match against 1860 with the U23s drew 21,219 spectators to the WWK ARENA, a record-setting attendance for the Regionalliga Bayern. The match finished in a 3-2 win for Augsburg, making the memory even sweeter. On matchday 26 of the 2017/18 season, Richter made his second Bundesliga appearance, scoring his debut goal late on to secure a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. “My first Bundesliga goal, and at home in front of our own fans to boot! That was a highlight that I will never forget,” Richter said. Since then, he has become a regular starter for the FCA first team and has made 63 Bundesliga appearances. “It all went very quickly,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m glad that I was able to make my dream a reality. I’m grateful for every single minute of it.”