A year of firsts: Lucas Ribeiro

Lucas Ribeiro experienced three footballing firsts in 2020. He made his first professional appearance for TSG in the 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup, before making his Bundesliga debut – and heading home his first goal in stoppage time to rescue a 1-1 draw, just 280 seconds after coming off the bench – in Mönchengladbach a few weeks later. In an interview with SPIELFELD, the 21-year-old Brazilian spoke about his thoughts and feelings, and revealed one of his major objectives.

You made your first competitive appearance for TSG Hoffenheim in the DFB Cup – away to reigning champions Bayern Munich no less. How did that feel?

"That was very important; I had waited a year for the chance to finally play. To come on in a game of that magnitude, in a stadium like that and against so many players whom I had only ever seen on television was a special feeling and also my reward for all my work over the past 12 months. When I came on it was a feeling of pure joy; I wasn't nervous and I simply enjoyed it."

In the 19 minutes you spent on the pitch, TSG scored two goals to Bayern's one and almost made it 4-4. Were you satisfied with your performance?

"I wanted to have the ball, be involved and help us to win the match. But of course I wanted to enjoy the whole thing too and show what I can do. I hadn't played for a long time, but it was okay and many people congratulated me afterwards so it can't have been too bad. It would have obviously been unbelievable if we'd managed to turn the game around completely. But to make my debut in such a crazy game was equally incredible."

If you include the injury time, you played around 10 minutes in Mönchengladbach – and got on the scoresheet. Can you describe your feelings after the match?

"The match and especially the goal were very emotional and important for me. I needed some time afterwards to grasp everything that had happened. It did me a lot of good to finally play in the Bundesliga – that's why I made the move to TSG a year ago. Scoring such an important goal was obviously more than I'd hoped for. I'm working hard with the aim of getting regular opportunities.

How do you look back on your first year in Germany?

"It was obviously difficult not playing and only training. As a young player, it's very important to get match practice. But it was still a very good and educational year. Language, culture, playing style – it was a big change and it all took some time. But I feel very happy at TSG and even the cold doesn't make a difference to me. I just miss my family and above all my daughter, who is six months old. But it's fun and I am very motivated. This is a huge opportunity for me. I am learning new things every day; I want to take the next step and perform convincingly on a regularly basis. And if things go really well, perhaps I'll even make it into the Brazil squad for the Olympic Games."

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