Julian Green shot to stardom as a teenager at Bayern Munich and by scoring with his first touch at the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the USA. But what else is there to know about the Greuther Fürth attacker?
bundesliga.com takes a closer look…
1) A member of the German-American club
He was born in Tampa, Florida, on 6 June 1995 to an American father and German mother, who moved with him back to her homeland just two years later. Green grew up near Tegernsee, south of Munich and near the Austrian border, and after playing for a couple of local clubs as a young boy, he was snapped up by the Bayern academy at the age of 15 in 2010.
2) The Bayern years
Being in the Bayern academy is one thing but graduating to become part of the first-team pool is another matter entirely and Green is one of only a handful of players to have managed it in recent years.
His progress into the senior squad was swift and he made his debut under Pep Guardiola in the 2013/14 season in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League win over CSKA Moscow. However, that would be the first of just four competitive appearances he made for the first team (none of which came in the Bundesliga), but he still became the first American to score for Bayern when he found the net against Augsburg in a DFB Cup second-round victory in 2016/17.
The competition for places with world-class players proved to be both a blessing and a curse, but Green nevertheless looks back on his time at Säbener Straße fondly. "I trained with the best players in the world at Bayern," he told ESPN. "You could learn from everyone, starting with Philipp Lahm to Arjen Robben. From those players on my position. Robben, Franck Ribery and even Robert Lewandowski. They gave me advice, and to see them in training made me stronger."
3) Hat-trick against Inter Milan
Their words of wisdom seemingly had a profound effect and in August 2016 Green served notice of his talents to a wider audience by smashing a first-half hat-trick past Inter Milan, helping Bayern to a 4-1 win in the International Champions Cup in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Watch: Green’s hat-trick in the pre-season thrashing of Inter!
4) USA or Germany?
Fluent in both English and German and holding both American and German passports, Green's rise in the game inevitably left him with a tricky decision to make: who to represent at international level?
He had played for Germany in the U16s and U17s, but Jürgen Klinsmann, who was in charge of the US men's national team at the time, eventually persuaded Green that his future lay with the Stars and Stripes.
"Obviously this was a big decision, and I spent a long time discussing it with my family," Green told US Soccer. "I was born in Florida and my father still lives there, so I have deep roots in the US. I'm very proud to be representing the United States."
He made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 2-2 draw against arch-rivals Mexico on 2 April 2014 at the age of 18.
5) THAT World Cup goal
That year turned out to be a pretty big one for Green, who was a surprise inclusion in the USA's 23-man roster for the World Cup in Brazil, becoming the youngest ever player to form part of an American squad at the finals.
He did not feature at all in the group stage, but was thrown in at the deep end as a substitute in the round of 16 against Belgium. That match had finished goalless after 90 minutes, but the Belgians scored twice in the first half of extra-time to leave the US staring into the abyss.
Klinsmann brought Green off the bench in a bid to pull a goal back and the tactic paid instant dividends as the attacker volleyed in Michael Bradley's cross just two minutes after entering the pitch. Although the game ultimately ended in American elimination from the tournament following a 2-1 defeat, Green nevertheless became the youngest player ever to play and score for his country at a World Cup.
6) Finding his feet as a pro
In a sense, Green's career has been something of a paradox until recently. A full international, he had played in and scored at a World Cup, had winner's medals from the FIFA Club World Cup and DFL Supercup – but still was not a first-team regular at club level.
Seeking greater game time, he agreed to move to Hamburg on loan in 2014/15 after HSV head coach Mirko Slomka made a determined effort to sign him. However, Slomka was fired a week after Green arrived and his successor did not share the same enthusiasm for the forward. "That was a hard time," he recalled.
His fingers burned by that experience, Green returned to Bayern for the next two seasons, but predominantly played for the reserves in the fourth tier of German football. VfB Stuttgart, then in Bundesliga 2, came calling in December 2016 and Green would go on to help them earn promotion that season, scoring once in 10 appearances for VfB.
By that stage, he had only played 769 minutes – the equivalent of roughly eight matches - of first-team club football across 19 appearances, largely as a substitute, in four seasons.
7) Move to Fürth
Against that backdrop, it is understandable that Green moved on again in August 2017, this time on loan to second-tier side Greuther Fürth. "I want to play regularly, so I'm happy to take this step," he said at the time.
At the Clover Leaves he has, finally, found a home. In 2017/18 he scored three times in 24 league appearances, earning himself a permanent transfer to Fürth in the process.
"I think if you play every weekend, you can feel it, you're just getting better and you feel more comfortable on the field, and you just have a good feeling," Green told ESPN. "It was my first season that it was like this. I'd never had that before, and I think it was a very important season for me. Now I feel that I'm a different kind of player, my game changed just a little bit. I feel better now."
He soon became a key member of the starting line-up and in 2018/19 he scored four in 29 games, while at the start of the 2019/20 campaign he struck three in his first six.
8) Striker, attacking midfielder or winger?
Blessed with natural pace, a gifted dribbler and with a powerful shot, Green is a versatile attacker who can play – and has played – in a number of positions over the years. But which role suits him best?
"[He] has the typical skill set of a centre-forward; he's very good without the ball, he's so good at finding space and moving behind the defensive line. And he has quality on the ball, too," said former Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti to ESPN in 2016.
"Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola always told me my best position is in the middle," Green said. "The first games at Fürth I started out wide, and then the last games I started in the middle. And for me personally, I think in the middle is a better position."
That would appear to be true. At Fürth, Green is not the main centre-forward, but is employed just behind him with freedom to drop deeper and drift out wide if needed. The fact he is starting, and scoring, regularly for the Clover Leaves would seem to suggest he is exactly where he needs to be.
9) Scorer of important goals
Little did he know it at the time, but Green's goal at the 2014 World Cup was a sign of things to come and he has made a habit of scoring when it matters most.
On 13 May 2018, for example, he buried a long-range effort in a 1-1 draw with Heidenheim that meant Fürth narrowly avoided relegation to the third division on the final day of the season.
Around a month later, he was on target again, only this time for the USA against soon-to-be World Cup winners France. Green broke the deadlock in the 44th minute in Lyon, scoring the USA's first-ever goal against Les Bleus with a superb strike on the turn from a tight angle.
"They had a really good team," Green recalled to US Soccer. "It was their last friendly match before the World Cup. The cross came in and the defender made a little mistake and I scored. It was a nice feeling. The crowd went quiet after that. I'll always remember that. It was a special moment for me."
10) Tampa Bay Lightning fan
As the saying goes, you can take a man out of Tampa, but you can't take the Tampa out of the man. Green may no longer live in Florida, but he is a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State and is a huge fan of NHL team the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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