How United States’ biggest stars are taking the Bundesliga by storm
3 min readNovember 30, 2016
The Bundesliga has a long-standing tradition of talented American stars, going back to the days of Claudio Reyna and Steven Cherundolo through to today’s crop of Germany-based USMNT internationals, who are lighting up the top flight on a weekly basis.
Chief among them is arguably Christian Pulisic, who is widely considered the USMNT’s brightest prospect in a generation. Hershey-born Pulisic, 18, has belied his tender years with a string of remarkable performances at the heart of the Borussia Dortmund midfield, earning numerous plaudits for his role in the 6-0 victory over SV Darmstadt 98 on Matchday 3. He has also started four of the national team’s last six encounters, scoring twice in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against St. Vincent in September.
Another pillar of the USMNT squad is Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks, whose father, also named John, was an American serviceman stationed in Berlin. Young John Anthony grew up in the German capital, coming through the ranks at Hertha Berlin. At 21, he ended up becoming an unlikely hero after scoring a late winner against Ghana in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
At club level, Brooks is a tough, no-nonsense centre-back who has contributed to his side’s impressive defensive record in the Bundesliga. Third-place Hertha have conceded just 11 goals in 12 games this season, and are currently just six points behind league leaders RB Leipzig.
The son of an African-American serviceman, Fabian Johnson began his career at local club TSV 1860 Munich, before stints with VfL Wolfsburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. He joined Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer of 2014 and, thanks to his pace and trickery, became a regular fixture. At 28, he already boasts over 150 Bundesliga appearances.
Johnson’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with leaders RB Leipzig on Matchday 4 lifted his Bundesliga tally to 14. That makes him the second most prolific American in the German top flight, behind former Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 defender Thomas Dooley (20).
After earning a draw against northern rivals SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 12, Hamburger SV are now eager to register their first win of the campaign. Two of the Red Shorts’ eight league goals so far have come from Wood, who also grabbed a brace against Hallescher FC as his side eased into the Last 16 of the DFB Cup (4-0).
Born in Hawaii, Wood became a USMNT regular in 2014, scoring his first international goal in a thrilling 4-3 friendly win over the Netherlands. He was also on target in the recent loss to Mexico, taking his international tally to eight goals in 29 appearances.
Born to an American father and a German mother, Timothy Chandler joined hometown club Eintracht Frankfurt at the age of 11. After cutting his teeth at 1. FC Nürnberg, he returned to the Eagles in 2014, where his defensive versatility has enabled him to become a regular starter.
In October, FC Bayern München’s Julian Green became the first American to score a competitive goal for the record German champions, in their 3-1 DFB Cup win over FC Augsburg. While his playing time is limited for the Bavarians, American fans are unlikely to forget Green’s extra-time goal against Belgium in the Last 16 of the 2014 World Cup.
Having featured for the USMNT in their recent World Cup qualifiers, Aron Johannsson will be hoping for a swift return to the Werder Bremen line-up, where he’ll look to add to his goal against Augsburg on Matchday 2. FC Ingolstadt 04’s Alfredo Morales, meanwhile, is another player looking to force his way back into the fold at club and international level.
With the national squad currently in a period of transition following Klinsmann’s recent departure, the new head coach will need his Bundesliga stars firing on all cylinders to help get the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.