USMNT crime fighters Pulisic and Wood get stuck in - but the duo will face off when HSV host BVB on Matchday 5. - © © gettyimages / Tom Pennington
USMNT crime fighters Pulisic and Wood get stuck in - but the duo will face off when HSV host BVB on Matchday 5. - © © gettyimages / Tom Pennington

USA team-mates Pulisic and Wood set to collide when Hamburg host Borussia Dortmund

Forming a band of brothers with the USMNT, Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood will put international allegiances aside when Borussia Dortmund visit Hamburg on Wednesday. We crunch the big-game numbers.

We all remember the movie poster for the 2016 blockbuster Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice. The Dark Knight’s eyes lit up, his jaw snarling at the Man of Steel who presses back with a hand against his rival’s bulging chest. That’s how it looks when superheroes collide.

Now, we’re not suggesting that HSV’s strong-running striker Bobby Wood and Dortmund’s very own Captain America, Christian Pulisic, will strike such a pose in the tunnel of the Volksparkstadion when their respective teams meet this week, but we in the stat room have had fun imagining just such a scenario nonetheless.

Watch: Pulisic nets against HSV to become the fourth-youngest scorer in the Bundesliga!

Friends with Bruce Arena’s 2018 FIFA World Cup hopefuls, foes on the field in the Bundesliga. Pulisic and Wood have combined forces on 15 occasions for the national team but have crossed paths with rival clubs a mere 24 minutes.

Last season’s 3-0 triumph for Die Schwarzgelben against the Red Shorts saw Wood and Pulisic go head to head for the first time and left us eagerly anticipating their next meeting. Both helped the USA cement a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Copa America Centenario but their clubs need the American teammates to turn their backs on one another with crucial Bundesliga points at stake on Matchday 5.   

And when Hamburg and Dortmund do battle, there are inevitably goals, lots of goals. Pulisic and Wood have managed six apiece for their teams, but this fixture has produced 358 goals in 100 games. Incredibly, the numbers are evenly split – 179 for HSV, 179 for the Black and yellows.

Dortmund have the upper hand in terms of form between the sides of late, winning the last three encounters by an aggregate scoreline of 11-2, with Pulisic on target in the first game of that sequence.

Despite those none-too-pleasing numbers for the Dinos, Markus Gisdol’s men can point to only one home loss in the last five seasons against Wednesday’s visitors while Dortmund have suffered as many reverses against Hamburg - 10 - as they have against Bayern Munich since 2006. No other top-flight team has inflicted more heartache on BVB over the years than those two.

Wood (r.) and Pulisic (l.) warm up prior to the USMNT's game against Costa Rica at the start of September. - © imago / ZUMA Press

Yet whose heart will sink down by the River Elbe when the teams meet this time around? Wood was on the scoresheet when Pulisic became the USA’s youngest player - at 17 years and 349 days - to score in a FIFA World Cup qualifier during a 6-0 victory against St Vincent and the Grenadines in September 2016. Pulisic won the free-kick that eventually led to Wood’s dramatic and crucial equaliser in the 1-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against Honduras recently. Yet all of that will be momentarily forgotten when these two footballing superheroes face off as rivals this week.

Paul Bryan

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