The big news on Wednesday, the last day of the Bundesliga Hinrunde, was the showdown between rekordmeister Bayern Munich and first-divsion upstarts RB Leipzig, the Red Bull powered club chockful of young talent that didn’t lose a league match until MatchDay 14. As it turned out, however, the Bavarians were way too much for Leipzig, winning 3-0 to go into the monthlong winter break topping the Bundesliga once again.
But Bayern Munich was also involved in other news Wednesday, as it was announced that American international Julian Green, 21, has agreed to a transfer from Bayern, his only professional club, to VfB Stuttgart of Germany’s 2nd division. Green signed a contract with the Swabians through June, 2019.
Born in Tampa of an American father and German mother, Green returned to Germany with his mother when he was 2 and grew up as a Bayern Munich fan. He came up through the club’s youth ranks and played over 50 matches, scoring 25 times for the Bavarian’s reserve side in the fourth division Regionaliga Bayern, but despite scoring goals in Pep Guardiola’s first training camp friendlies and scoring a hat trick in Carlo Ancelotti’s second game as Bayern’s head man this summer against Inter Milan during Bayern’s Audi Summer Tour of the United States, Green was never able to get into a Bundesliga match with Bayern and played in only a few European and DFB Pokal matches. Green did spend a year with Hamburger SV on loan but the experience resulted in very little playing time for the youngster and an apparent dispute between him and the north German club and was a surprise callup to Jurgen Klinsmann’s 2014 World Cup squad, where he scored a goal against Belgium in the knock out rounds, Green has eight total caps for the American senior squad after playing for both German and American youth national teams.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated
Julian wants to gain new experience at a club that can offer him regular first-team football. With the massive competition for places, that was always difficult at FC Bayern. I wish Julian all the best for his future. He was always an industrious, reliable and very friendly player for FC Bayern
The response by pundits about Green’s move to Stuttgart was universally positive. Raphael Honigstein ,pointed out that the move was “realistic” and that Stuttgart look poised to bounceback to Germany’s first division while ESPN commentator Shaka Hislop termed Green’s move “long overdue” and brought out the experience Bundesliga 2 that Bobby Wood gained at 1860 Munich, Union Berlin and while on loan with Erzgebirge Aue, almost 100 games that gave Wood the confidence that turned him into the USMNT’s most important players and a contract with Hamburger SV. Hyslop additionally noted how Serge Gnabry has blossomed with his move this summer to Werder Bremen after finding it difficult to get playing time at Arsenal. In his ESPN FC column,Mark Lovell ‘congratulated’ Green on his move to Stuttgart.
This summer, prior to the start of Bayern’s USA tour, Green made it clear that he was only interested in making Bayern’s senior squad, and he reiterated that view to the Fanatic in Chicago the day before Bayern’s friendly against AC Milan. Normally a winger, the 5’7″ youngster was moved to the center forward position by Ancelotti, and although he looked a bit uncomfortable in the friendly against Milan he was able to find space and scored three times in the first half of Bayern’s next friendly against Inter. But when the regular season started, Green was once again unable to find playing time and only made Bayern’s bench six times during the Hinrunde, although Green was sidelined with a torn muscle bundle during Bayern’s final Hinrunde matches.
So the chance to play regularly for a big club, albeit demoted after a chaotic last few seasons, is a good move to Green. Stuttgart have been able to win in large part to the goalscoring performance of Bundesliga 2 veteran Simon Terodde, who’s netted 11 times — but only Christian Gentner ;with five goals and Carlos Mane, with four, have found the net with any consistency for the Swabians. Thus there is an opportunity for Green in Stuttgart, especially with proven scorer Daniel Ginczek continuing to suffer with injury problems. It’s not guaranteed, of course, but to compete for a big club against lesser but still quality competition should be good for Green.
And it’s also important to keep in mind the impact that Jurgen Klinsmann’s recent dismissal as USMNT coach might have had on Green’s decision to move on despite his great allegiance to Bayern. Klinsmann was the man who took a lot of criticism by choosing unproven Green for the 2014 World Cup, especially in light of his decision to leave American icon Landon Donovan off the squad. New coach Bruce Arena was recently in Germany and met with American Bundesliga players Wood, Christian Pulisic, Timmy Chandler, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson. It is probably at least somewhat significant that Arena did not meet with Green.
Green needs high-quality matches more than anything, and signing with Stuttgart is about the best deal imaginable, especially if the Swabians have indeed turned the corner on their recent chaotic, coaching carousel recent past. Here’s hope that the young man has success at his new home.