The close ties between U.S. Soccer and the Bundesliga were strengthened further on Matchday 26 when another talented American youngster, Timothy Tillman, made his full top-flight debut for Nuremberg, having joined the club on loan from Bayern Munich for the season.
bundesliga.com unravels everything you need to know about this dual-national star in the making.
1) Family ties
Although Tillman was born in Nuremberg, has lived his whole life in Germany, represented his country of birth from Under-15 to U-19 level and cut his footballing teeth with Bundesliga 2 side Greuther Fürth, he is eligible to represent the Stars and Stripes at international level through his father, who is an American citizen.
His younger brother Malik, who is also on the books at Bayern, enjoys this same privilege and has already switched his allegiance to the U.S., where he has competed with the U-15 squad.
2) An American Tradition
Tillman turned up for a U-20 training camp with the U.S. in March 2018 under coach Tab Ramos, who told Goal that the youngster is "ready to go and ready to join" the American youth squad. Tillman still needs to submit a formal request to FIFA first, but his intentions seem firm.
This would make him the latest Bundesliga-bred talent to choose the U.S. over Germany. The list of dual nationals that went this route includes names like Stuttgart’s Julian Green (on loan at Greuther Fürth), former Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson.
3) Greatness in sight
Tillman’s progression through the Bayern youth system has gone smoothly since his arrival to the club in 2015. His main occupation last season was with the reserves in the Bavarian Regionalliga, the fourth tier of German football, where was been a regular starter.
In August 2017, he was part of the Bayern squad that won the DFL Supercup over Borussia Dortmund in dramatic fashion from the penalty spot. Although he did not play, being called to the first team in such a scenario is a clear sign of the confidence the club have in their young star.
4) A resourceful trickster
If one were to draw a parallel between Tillman and a current member of the Bayern first team, the name Kingsley Coman immediately comes to mind. They are both right-footed left wingers and both display a level of technical proficiency one would not expect from players with such a relatively tall frame.
Standing at 5'11", Tillman loves to dribble his way down the left flank in search of a cut-in to shoot at goal with his right foot, like a mirror version of Arjen Robben's trademark move. His repertoire includes a strong footwork that allows him to play all sorts of tricks on his opposition in confined spaces and also makes the right decision more often than not, while the youngster can also operate as an attacking midfielder, second striker or right winger.
Watch: How Tillman reacted to making his Bundesliga debut
5) Hot property
The Bayern youngster has also made headlines in recent times by drawing interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe. In early 2017, Barcelona reportedly made an offer for him, only to be met by a resounding Bavarian 'nein'. Real Madrid were also linked with a move for Tillman after an impressive display against Atletico in the UEFA Youth League.
In spite of the buzz, Bayern would prefer to see their investment in the young German-American pay off in goals instead of euros. Tillman's move to Nuremberg, a club located in the state of Bavaria where he will remain close to the record champions, will be an important step in his development. A first Bundesliga start in the Matchday 26 meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt, a week after his debut outing from the bench, is the next significant milestone in that regard.
The Tillmans meet in Munich
The Matchday 23 meeting between Bayern and Greuther is also an inter-family affair for Tillman brothers Malik and Timothy.
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