- 17-year-old made his Bundesliga debut against FC Ingolstadt 04 on Matchday 19 of the 2015/16 season.
- Scored his first German top-flight goal in the victory against Hamburger SV on Matchday 30.
- Became a full USA international in March 2016.
Hailing from the place that gave the world Hershey's Chocolate, the football played by Borussia Dortmund super talent Christian Pulisic is every bit as sweet as the famous confectionery that put his humble hometown on the map.
The 17-year-old was handed his first Bundesliga start at Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 21 February 2016 and scored his first league goal in a 3-0 victory against Hamburger SV in mid-April, but what’s behind the Pennsylvanian’s accelerated rise through the Dortmund ranks? Allow bundesliga.com to elaborate…
After starting out in the Michigan Rush juniors, Pulisic went on to feature for local US Soccer Development Academy, Pennsylvania Classics. He was later called up to the US U-14s national team, and also spent time training with European outfits FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Villarreal CF.
It was five-time Bundesliga champions Dortmund, however, who snapped up the gifted Zehner following a string of impressive performances whilst on the books of the Florida-based U-17 Residency Programme in January 2015. He went from strength to strength at BVB, winning the 2014/15 U-17s German title before joining up with the U-19s.
"His strengths are his mentality, his pace and his skills," BVB U-19s head coach Hannes Wolf told Soccer America at the end of 2015. "He is a team player and strong in every part of the game […] Christian learned German very quickly and is very well respected by his teammates because of his personality and quality on the pitch."
Dream come true
Sure enough, the US U-17 international was invited to train with the Dortmund first-team during the 2015/16 winter break. He impressed head coach Thomas Tuchel so much that he was promoted to the senior squad, for whom he made his Bundesliga debut as a 68th-minute substitute in the 2-0 win over FC Ingolstadt 04 on 30 January 2016.
"I dreamed about these moments when I was younger, and yeah, of course I was a little bit nervous," admitted the eighth-youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga, at the tender age of 17 years and 133 days. "When you get the ball, though, it all goes away and you’re just focused on trying to win the game."
Further cameos from the bench were rewarded with a starting berth in a 1-0 win at Leverkusen's BayArena on Matchday 22, before he opened his Bundesliga account with an arrowed shot that flew into the corner of the HSV net on Matchday 30. Having also become the youngest player to play for the USA in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, the American's emergence on the Bundesliga scene promises to be just a taster of things to come.