May 27, 2017

Yanks in Deutschland: Matchday 13 Edition

This weekly series tracks the performances of U.S. players in the German Bundesliga. Currently, a key group of American players ply their trade in the German top flight and on the U.S. Mens National Team. This group of players continues the contemporary trend of Americans playing in the German Bundesliga.

Outside of Major League Soccer (MLS), you will find the most important group of U.S. footballers in the German Bundesliga. The reasons for this phenomenon vary, but historically can be largely attributed to the presence of U.S. citizens – especially military personnel – marrying Germans, having kids, and those kids growing up playing football in Germany. Moreover, German clubs, with their emphasis on youth development, have been quite welcoming to U.S. youngsters.

The Yanks in Deutschland trends continues. So let’s see how the Americans fared these past couple weeks …

Current Americans in the Bundesliga 

John Brooks (defender, Hertha BSC) – Brooks continues to mature into a seasoned centerback, making 7 straight “full 90” appearances for the surging Hertha, who sit at 3rd in the Bundesliga table. This consistency is impressive after Brooks’ adductor muscle issues early in the season. During this stretch, Brooks has only earned 2 yellow cards, while guiding his club to a couple clean sheets. Moreover, he still leads his club in passing (67 passes per match), which, as I’ve stated before, isn’t surprising given Hertha’s square-pass happy DNA. More impressively, Brooks hasn’t committed a single serious defensive error (i.e. leading to a goal) this season.

Timothy Chandler (fullback, Eintracht Frankfurt) – Yeah, man. Timmy is still doing it strong for Eintracht this season. Hell, I might even venture the opinion that good ol Timmy C. is the best yank abroad right now, performance and contribution-wise. (Sorry, Christian!) The rightback continues to carve out his best season ever, as his Eagles continue their surprising and impressive table run, currently sitting 5th on goal difference with 4th place Hoffenheim (both clubs meet in a huge match today!). Kovac is playing Chandler at both rightback and winger this season, showcasing a newfound versatility for Chandler, who played 6 matches at either position. Our fearless American has been a minutes-played mainstay, logging in the 3rd most minutes for his club this season. His passing work has been his greatest contribution this season, as Chandler has 2 assists (including one in Eintracht’s 2-1 win over BVB) and averages about 1.5 Key Passes per match, translating into 17 scoring chances created for teammates this season.

Timothy Chandler's passing work (3 scoring chances created) against Borussia Dortmund on 26 November 2016. (Courtesy of Squawka.com)
Timothy Chandler’s passing work (3 scoring chances created) against Borussia Dortmund on 26 November 2016. (Courtesy of Squawka.com)

Julian Green (forward, Bayern Munich) – Yeah, he’s still alive. Currently, Green’s only appearances (2) were in Pokal play for Bayern. Making matters worse, Green suffered a torn muscle bundle. At least we learned last week that he was a super cute toddler:

https://twitter.com/J_Green37/status/804386078681681921?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Aron Jóhannsson (forward, Werder Bremen) – The Mobile, Alabama native is still doing the journey back from injury thing. After 4 straight matches not being in Werder’s squad, at least Jóhannsson was on the bench in Werder’s 2-1 win over Ingolstadt last weekend. Thus far, 2016-17 has been a wasted season for Jóhannsson. Besides, even with full health, he’s a long shot to even crack into Werder’s lineup with Ousman Manneh stealing the show atop Werder’s 4-2-3-1 shape.

Fabian Johnson (midfielder, Borussia Mönchengladbach) – Woof. It’s been a nasty stretch for Faby J and the Foals (the name of a promising art rock band?). Our favorite winger has played less than 45 minutes combined in Gladbach’s previous three Bundesliga matches (1 draw + 2 losses). However, Johnson went the full 90 during the UCL match against Man City (1-1 draw) a couple weeks ago, but only chipped in 31 minutes as a sub in Gladbach’s 4-0 loss at Barça. Perhaps Johnson simply needs to revisit happier times for inspiration?

Alfredo Morales (midfielder, FC Ingolstadt) – The central midfielder and his club find themselves at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. Grim times. However, this slide is not Morales’ fault, as the American has been fighting back from an injury. Good luck, Alfredo!

Christian Pulisic (midfielder, Borussia Dortmund) – The story has been oddly quiet around Pulisic last few weeks. (I sense it wouldn’t be so quiet if young Christian had converted some very close chances in recent matches – yes, the hype train is this close to ratcheting up even more!) Meanwhile, cue the silly winter transfer rumors (Arsenal! Liverpool! PSG! You Make It Up!). Regardless, Pulisic is still doing great things on the pitch. In case you missed it – as I did! – Pulisic made an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s FS1 show (Christian looks just slightly terrified by his famous interviewer):

Currently, Pulisic is up to 10 Bundesliga appearances for BVB, along with 6 Champions League appearances, including a road start against Real Madrid, in which our plucky yank teen found himself totally isolated and surrounded by three blanco-clad defenders on the left every time he received the ball. Turnovers happened. Frustration happened. Hopefully, learning happened. Lately, Pulisic has been playing off the bench for BVB, but with UCL play done till next calendar year, perhaps Pulisic will return to BVB’s starting lineup as the Winterpause looms. Speak for yourself, but my mouth’s been watering for a Reus-Auba-Pulisic front three for awhile.

Bobby Wood (forward, Hamburger SV) – Bobby was given some mandated R & R (remember that red card?) and missed three matches, because of his suspension. So I don’t really have much to say about the 24 year old this installment. However, he did make a relatively late substitute appearance in HSV’s ugly but necessary 2-0 at SV Darmstadt last weekend. During his 16 minutes of action, Bobby looked a tad rusty with his touch, balance, and decision-making. Yet he made some decently dangerous runs and was always lurking near Darmstadt’s goal. Nonetheless, Bobby is still stuck on his 2 goals, scored during MDs 1-2. Wake up, Bobby!

Next Year’s Bobby Wood? 

Andrew Wooten (forward, SV Sandhausen) – This part of the series tracks a Yank who’s the most likely candidate to make the jump from the 2. Bundesliga to the top flight next season. Like Bobby Wood did from Union Berlin to HSV. And Wooten is playing along. He continues to score goals at a regular clip for SVS. Currently, the American big man is 4th in the 2. Bundesliga with 8 goals in 14 appearances, averaging 136 minutes per goal. Wooten’s latest came last weekend in SVS’s sensational 3-1 win over 1.FC Nürnberg (“Toooorrrr! Ahn-Droo Voooten!”):

If Wooten keeps up his goal average, he might just about finish with 20 goals this season, as his club slowly climbs out of 2. Bundesliga mediocrity. Right now, Wooten is playing his “Bobby Wood” role perfectly. I can’t help it, but Wooten is again our Yank of the Week.

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Travis serves as an editor and regular columnist here. Born and groomed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Travis is a college English instructor in Pittsburgh. Coffee, books, and coaching the U6s are his passions. His writing has also appeared in Bloomberg Sports, the Good Man Project, and his former blog, Sportisourstory.tumblr.com, and elsewhere. He tweets at @tptimmons. Heja BVB!

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