- Increasing numbers of U.S. players in the Bundesliga.
- Wood the highest-scoring American in a single season in Germany.
- Future looks bright for USMNT thanks to Bundesliga influence.
The star-spangled Bundesliga has long had fans on both sides of the Atlantic hooked, and that shows no sign of waning with an exciting handful of USMNT players proudly flying the stars and stripes in Germany.
Look out for our special #4thOfJuly #StarSpangledBundesliga tweets with US players as US landmarks and icons on our official Twitter channel: @bundesliga_en
Johnson and Brooks flying high
Versatile USA defender Fabian Johnson was one of the standout performers at Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2015/16, thriving in his second campaign at the club. The 28-year-old, previously of VfL Wolfsburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, was the Bundesliga’s highest-scoring North American last term, netting six times and providing four assists, even scoring in a 3-1 win over defending champions FC Bayern München on Matchday 15.
Watch: Johnson's top five Bundesliga goals
Famed for his defensive abilities rather than his goal-scoring prowess, John Anthony Brooks cemented his place as a Hertha Berlin stalwart in 2015/16 and then further enhanced his reputation with a series of impressive displays at the Copa America Centenario this summer.
The imposing 23-year-old centre-back, who has spent his entire domestic career at the Olympiastadion, is a veritable man mountain at 1.93 metres-tall and one of the chief reasons why Pal Dardai's ensemble were so difficult to beat last term.
Watch: Back to the Roots, with John Anthony Brooks
Mixed fortunes for Pulisic, Chandler and Johannsson
The upcoming season promises to be an intriguing one for the youngest member of the Bundesliga's USA contingent: Christian Pulisic. The 17-year-old made his mark on the league in the 2015/16 Rückrunde, forcing his way into the Borussia Dortmund first-team squad and becoming the youngest-ever foreign scorer in Germany's top flight, as well as the youngest player to score twice. So impressive was his rise, in fact, that the attacking midfielder was part of the USMNT's Copa America Centenario squad and even played against the likes of Lionel Messi in the semi-final.
Were it not for injury, Pulisic's compatriots Timothy Chandler and Aron Johannsson would surely have seen more game time for Eintracht Frankfurt and SV Werder Bremen respectively. A meniscus tear restricted defensive specialist Chandler to just 12 Bundesliga appearances in 2015/16, while former AZ Alkmaar striker Johannsson's encouraging start to life in Germany’s top flight – two goals in his first six games – was curtailed by groin and hip problems.
Watch: Pulisic on his remarkable rise to stardom
In the footsteps of Wynalda and Dooley
There was no such misfortune for Hawaii-born Bobby Wood, however, as the forward struck 17 times for 1. FC Union Berlin in Bundesliga 2 last term, earning him a high-profile move to Hamburger SV. His tally surpassed the previous best single-season record by an American, set when Eric Wynalda scored eight times for by 1. FC Saarbrücken back in 1992/93.
Forty-three Americans, over 1,800 appearances, more than 110 goals and one Bundesliga title: the Bundesliga’s trans-Atlantic recruits have accomplished much since Thomas Dooley became the first American-born player to play for a top level German club and later the only U.S. representative to win the Bundesliga (in 1990/91 with 1. FC Kaiserslautern). Yet with Johnson helping bring the glory days back to Gladbach, Brooks’ Hertha defying the odds in the capital and Pulisic and Wood also blazing their own trails, he will surely not be the last.