The Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world. Plenty of the games brightest stars ply their trade in Germany’s top flight. Among those players are some of the biggest names in US soccer. Germany seems to be a popular destination for US players. If you’re not watching every weekend you could miss what some of the big names in USMNT are doing. While the Bundesliga season is only two games old, a few American’s have already made a big impact.
The Werder Bremen Striker has been enjoying extra playing time with injuries to Claudio Pizzaro and Max Kruse. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to do much to help his team win. In match-day one, Bremen were humiliated by Bayern Munich, and Johannsson was subbed off for an extra defender. Match-day two was a little better for the 25-year-old American. Against Augsburg, Johannsson scored his first goal of the season when he converted from the penalty spot. Augsburg would go on to score two unanswered goals and win, but that was a defensive problem, and Johannsson played well. He completed 14 of 21 passes frequently dropping into the midfield to help with buildup play.
The coming weeks are going to be crucial for Johannsson. He’s going to be afforded plenty of opportunity with the injuries Bremen are having to deal with. When Kruse and Pizzaro return from injury, the American striker is going to have to have shown more than just converting a penalty to stay in the lineup. He looked sharp with Serge Gnabry in the Augsburg loss, so perhaps another week of training together and the two forwards can be a little more clinical this weekend against Mönchengladbach. Regardless, after a such a long goal drought, Johannsson will be happy to be back on the score sheet. If he can keep it up, he could be getting a call from Jürgen Klinsmann.
One player that will surely be featuring frequently for the USMNT is Bobby Wood, and not just because he keeps scoring in a US shirt. The 23-year-old made the big move to the Bundesliga this season to play for a Hamburg side that has struggled in recent campaigns. Wood has made himself right at home, scoring a goal in each of Hamburg’s first two games. The first goal, which came in a 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt was about as gritty a goal as you’re going to get. Wood muscled his way past Ingolstadt defender Marvin Matip and fired home his first ever Bundesliga goal. Wood’s goal even won a fan vote for goal of the week. That’s pretty impressive considering the competition.
Wood continued to score over the international break with the USMNT and picked up where he left off in a match against Leverkusen, featuring Mexico’s Javier Hernandez. Wood scored the opener in that match, but a late hat-trick from Finnish striker Joel Pohjanpalo meant Wood and his Hamburg teammates will are still looking for their first win of the season. Hamburg will play host to Germany’s new favorite team, RB Leipzig this weekend, and Wood will certainly be in the starting 11.
[link_box id=”23231″ site_id=”158″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]It could be argued that John Brooks might be the best American player in the world right now. The Berlin center back has gotten off to a terrific start this season. Completing 97 out of 109 passes so far this year, Brooks has been something of a deep-lying playmaker this season. Think of him as a Jerome Boateng light. His Berlin team is 2-0 on the season, and boast the only other perfect record so far apart from Bayern.
Brooks has been playing terrific defense as well. Nicknamed the “Berlin Wall,” the American made six clearances around the six-yard box in Berlin’s 2-0 win over Ingolstadt. He missed time with the national team with an injury recently, but he returned to help with the aforementioned clean sheet on the road in Bavaria. Brooks is still goalless this season, but as a defender that isn’t a cause for concern. He’s almost always a target on set-pieces, so a goal soon wouldn’t be unheard of.
The big name in US soccer, Cristian Pulisic, hasn’t played a minute so far this season for Dortmund, but given his recent exploits for his country, that should change soon. However, Dortmund has a stacked forward group, so getting regular minutes for the Black and Yellow could be problematic. Despite some rumors of a switch to England or to RB Leipzig on loan, Pulisic has remained in Germany’s Rheinland for now.
Fabian Johnson, who had a tremendous season last year, has only featured in one of Mönchengladbach’s two games, and that was as a 61st-minute sub in a win over Leverkusen. Johnson was listed in the starting lineup for the first time this season against Manchester City, but since that game was rained out he should get his first start in the replay.
Julian Green, like Pulisic, hasn’t played in the Bundesliga this season. He did play for about 25 minutes in Bayern’s 5-0 cup win over fourth division side Carl Zeiss Jena but added little of consequence.