Kicking off this weekend, the German Bundesliga campaign promises another inviting opportunity for a number of U.S. players looking to further cement places with their clubs and in the MNT setup ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Here’s an outlook for six U.S. internationals as they begin their Bundesliga seasons:
Set to turn 19 next month, Christian Pulisic comes off an incredible first full season with Borussia Dortmund where he racked up five goals and nine assists in 43 competitive matches. Along with the personal stats, the youngster became just the second U.S. MNT player to win the DFB-Pokal when BVB dispatched reigning champions Bayern Munich on penalty kicks.
WATCH: Pulisic Opens 2017-18 Account in German Super Cup
Now under the direction of Dutch manager Peter Bosz, Pulisic has already opened his account jn the new campaign, tallying the opening goal in BVB’s German Super Cup clash against Bayern Munich on Aug. 5. Pulisic should help the club as it looks to challenge Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga this season, make further progress in the UEFA Champions League and defend its German Cup crown.
The longest-tenured current U.S. MNT player in Germany, Fabian Johnson is set to remain in the Bundesliga for the foreseeable future thanks to the contract extension he signed which will keep him with Borussia Mönchengladbach through 2020. That renewal came in May on the heels of a lengthy injury layoff that saw the midfielder miss nine matches down the stretch for the Foals and also forced him out of the USA’s important World Cup Qualifiers in March.
Though Johnson returned to play as a substitute in the club’s final two matches of the season, ‘Gladbach missed him dearly and the club finished mid-table, four points out of qualification for a spot in the Europa League. Now with a clean bill of health, Johnson and ‘Gladbach aim to finish back in the top six this season.
Having moved from Second Division side Union Berlin to the storied club Hamburg SV before the start of the last campaign, Bobby Wood’s first season in the Bundesliga was a bit of a roller coaster. Individually, Wood led the Die Rothosen in scoring, tallying nine goals across all competitions. Collectively, Hamburg struggled mightily throughout the season and avoided the Bundesliga relegation playoff on the final day of the season with a dramatic win that allowed HSV to remain the only club to have been in the Bundesliga since it was founded in 1963.
Now set for his second season in the Germany's top division and with a new contract in hand, Wood will be expected to continue being the workhorse and bagging goals up top. If he maintains the same scoring pace as the last two seasons, Hamburg will be a good bet to finish higher up the table come May.
U.S. MNT defender John Brooks made a huge splash this summer when he secured a $22.5 million move from Hertha Berlin to VfL Wolfsburg, setting a new record transfer figure for a U.S. player. Unfortunately, Brooks will have to wait to make an impact with his new club after going down with a thigh injury just 37 minutes into his debut during last Saturday’s 1-0 DFB-Pokal win at Eintracht Nordstedt.
Scheduled to be out the next three months, Wolfsburg and the MNT will have to manage without services in the interim and will look forward to his return later in the year.
Timmy Chandler’s 32 league appearances set a personal best last season as he helped Eintracht Frankfurt to an 11th place finish. Chandler will hope to keep up that consistency for Die Adler this year and has already started on the right foot, scoring the opening goal in Frankfurt’s 3-0 DFB-Pokal win against Erndtebrück last Saturday.
More strong performances for his club will also keep Chandler in the conversation for the U.S. MNT’s right back position, along with DeAndre Yedlin, Graham Zusi and Eric Lichaj.
A long apprenticeship without much playing time at Bayern Munich led to forward Julian Green’s midseason transfer to Second Division side Stuttgart in January. Entrenched in a fight for the league title as well as promotion, Green was limited to 10 appearances with Die Roten as the club won the championship and bounced back up to the top flight.
Competing for and earning minutes will go a long way towards putting Green back in the picture for the U.S. MNT, as memories of his strike against Belgium in the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup leave fans yearning for more.