Yes, it’s only the preseason, but Bayern Munich’s Julian Green scored a hattrick in his club 4-1 romp over Serie A’s Inter Milan in an International Champions Cup match in a sweltering Charlotte, North Carolina.
Make that a first half hattrick.
The young American played his best match to date in front of a large home nation crowd consisting of large swaths of Bayernrot in the stands, as the Bavarian club continues its North American tour.
Green’s hattrick took only 35 minutes to achieve, as he netted goals at 7′, 30′, and 35′.
During Saturday’s match, Green again seemed comfortable starting as Bayern’s central striker, in lieu of vacationing Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller. The American played it cool, however, claiming in a post-match interview that he’s comfortable in the center or as a winger – wherever he’s put. However, from the center Green shows superb finishing technique and an intuitive sense of which spaces to instantly slip into, much like another current Bundesliga star, Chicharito. This position seems ideal for Green’s skill set, tendencies, physical build, and speed.
Green exhibited a supreme first touch and exquisite timing in connecting with David Alaba’s cross for his first goal (7′). For this second goal (30′), Green took a pass from Ribéry, dribbled just past the top of the box, then simply curled a groundball with ease around his marker into the far post. For his final goal (35′), Green – probably offside – found space between two markers to receive a short pass, then easily slotted his shot into the goal.
Confident first half work from the American.
In the press room after the match, new Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti seemed bullish on Green’s chances to make the Bayern first team, observing that the American came ready to finish.
Raised in Bavaria, the Tampa-born Green joined the USA National team just in time for the 2014 World Cup where he famously scored a goal in the USA’s round of 16 loss to Belgium.
Since this achievement, Green has mostly struggled to find regular Bundesliga first team playing time both at Bayern, then at Hamburger SV where he found made five appearances with zero goals or assists in 2014-15. Last season, Green made 24 appearances with Bayern’s reserve team in Germany’s 4th division where the American scored 10 goals.
As Green turned 21 in June, this summer tempts the expectation that Green will have his best season as a Bundesliga pro. Nevertheless, a regular starting role at Bayern is certainly out of the question, so the best Green can seem to hope for is an occasional start as Ancelotti rotates his squad during the congested stretches of 2016-17’s schedule.
Another possibility is that Green evolves into something like a “super sub” providing ignition off the bench in the second half of Bayern’s matches, subbing in for someone like Müller or Ribéry.
Regardless, Green’s performance on Saturday reminded Americans why the Tampa-born Bavarian has been on the peripheries of the USA National team. Hopefully, this match augers an appearance or two for Green during the USMNT’s next set of friendlies in the fall.