The best American in the Bundesliga ever? If not already, Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic certainly has the potential to get there. - © © imago / Zuma Press
The best American in the Bundesliga ever? If not already, Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic certainly has the potential to get there. - © © imago / Zuma Press

Where does Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic rank among the best Americans to play in the Bundesliga?


Christian Pulisic has the potential to become the Bundesliga's best-ever American import, but how does the Borussia Dortmund starlet rank against other players to fly the Stars and Stripes high in Germany's top flight?

Since Andy Mate first crossed the Atlantic to join Hamburg in 1964, there have been a clutch of men in the service of Uncle Sam who have shone. picks out the top five.

1)Steve Cherundolo

Club: Hannover
Years active in the Bundesliga: 1999-2014
Position: Right-back
Honours: US national team (1999-2012), Gold Cup (2005), club captain (2010-2014)

No list highlighting Americans in the Bundesliga would be complete without the presence of Cherundolo at the very top.

Like his successor Pulisic, Cherundolo's link to Germany was not forged through birth or family, but talent, which brought him to Hannover from the University of Portland when the northerners were in Bundesliga 2 in 1999.

Promotion to the top flight via the second-tier title followed in 2002, Cherundolo going on to establish himself as one of the league's most consistent right-backs. Nicknamed 'Dolo' and 'The Mayor of Hannover', he played 302 top-flight matches — many as Hannover captain — before hanging up his boots in 2014 as the club's all-time leading appearance maker after a succession of niggling injuries.

The only Hannover player to have played in three World Cups, Cherundolo — born in Illinois but raised in San Diego and a surfing fan to this day — continues to live in Germany where, having worked as a coach in Hannover's youth ranks, he has linked up with Tayfun Korkut as assistant coach of an upwardly mobile Stuttgart side.

2)Christian Pulisic

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Years active in the Bundesliga: 2016-present
Position: Attacking midfield
Honours: DFB Cup (2017), US national team (2016-present)

Thrust into the Dortmund first team at the age of 17 by former coach Thomas Tuchel, Pulisic immediately showed he was more than comfortable playing at the highest level.

Mature beyond his years, fearless, blessed with pace and blood-twisting dribbling ability, the Pennsylvania native needed just seven outings before scoring his first Bundesliga goal - in the process becoming the top flight's youngest non-German goalscorer - back in 2016. He has scored eight more since then - including four in the 2017/18 season - and has also developed into the attacking focal point of the current USA side, capable of playing out wide or in a No10 role.

Watch: Check out Pulisic's ridiculous April Goal of the Month winner

A DFB Cup and Bundesliga title winner during a successful five-year spell at Kaiserslautern, Dooley — a versatile midfielder — then turned out for Leverkusen before a two-year stint at Schalke culminated in 1996/97 UEFA Cup glory. - © imago / Eissner

Still a teenager, Pulisic has an innate drive to keep getting better. "Now that I'm at a higher level and playing in the Bundesliga, you think more of it as your job," he said recently. "How can I become the best? How can I take a certain aspect of the game and improve that to make myself better overall?

"Of course, we play because we always love the game. But it's about figuring out what you need to take that next step. That's what I think about now." Bundesliga defenders, consider yourselves warned. - if he means to go on as he has started, then it won't take Pulisic too much longer to overhaul Cherundolo at the top of this particular list.

3)Jermaine Jones

Clubs: Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke
Years active in the Bundesliga: 1999-2014
Position: Centre midfield
Honours: US national team (2010-present), DFB Cup (2011)

Jones' incredible solo goal at the 2014 World Cup against Portugal ensured nationwide recognition Stateside, but the all-action midfielder had long been a familiar face to Bundesliga fans.

Born in Frankfurt to an American father and German mother, he started out at hometown club Eintracht (also playing for the German youth teams) and returned there after a one-season flirtation with Leverkusen, before a seven-year stint at Schalke, punctuated by a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers in 2011.

Ironically, that USMNT goal in Brazil came just as his chequered Bundesliga career — after 165 top-flight games, 56 yellow cards, nine goals and one infamous stamp on Marco Reus — was coming to an end.

A brief spell at Besiktas was the prelude to a three-year tour of the USA — the country of his serviceman father's birth — with New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Los Angeles Galaxy.

4) Thomas Dooley

Clubs: Homburg, Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke
Years active in the Bundesliga: 1983-1997
Position: Centre midfield
Honours: Bundesliga (1991), UEFA Cup (1997), DFB Cup (1990), Supercup (1991), US national team captain (1998-1999)

Just like Jones, Dooley was born in Germany to a German mother and American serviceman father, and became the first American to play in the Bundesliga since Mate when he helped propel Homburg from the third tier to the top flight during the early 1980s.

5)Fabian Johnson

Clubs: Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim, Borussia Mönchengladbach
Years active in the Bundesliga: 2006-present
Position: Right midfield, left midfield, full-back
Honours: US national team (2011-present), UEFA EURO Under-21 champion (2009)

A product of the vaunted 1860 Munich academy (like contemporary Bobby Wood), Johnson has got better and better at each Bundesliga stop he has made.

After a taste of the big time in the wake of Wolfsburg's surprise title success of 2008/09, the Munich-born utility man made his top-flight breakthrough at Hoffenheim, playing 87 top-flight games in a range of positions.

Watch: Johnson - 60 Seconds Under Pressure

"My dad just always told me to work on my weaker foot, so I'm almost completely two-footed," Johnson once revealed, going some way to explaining why he can play at left or right back, or on either side of attacking midfield.

Claiming the left wing to be his favourite position, Johnson's English was perfected thanks — in large part — to his dad's inability to pick up German: "I speak just English with my father because his German is — I don't know — he understands, but his speaking is not so good."

Gladbach have been the most recent beneficiaries of Johnson's multi-lingual, two-footed abilities: the 57-time USA international has scored Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League goals (including against Juventus and Sevilla) aplenty since arriving at the Borussia Park in 2014.

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