Fabian Johnson has seen a lot in his time in the Bundesliga, including a couple of famous Borussia Mönchengladbach wins over Bayern Munich and a fast-growing stateside interest in Germany's top division.
bundesliga.com caught up with the Gladbach and USA wide man ahead of the Foals' latest ding-dong with the record German champions...
bundesliga.com: Fabian Johnson, the last time Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Bayern Munich was two years ago, when you scored in a superb 3-1 home win. Before that game, Bayern were top of the Bundesliga and Gladbach were fourth, just like they are heading into Matchday 13...
Fabian Johnson: Sounds like a good omen to me... (laughs)
bundesliga.com: Would you say that Bayern victory was one of your best games for the Foals?
Johnson: It's hard to say. It's true that I scored, and as an attacking player you're judged on goals and assists. If you get a late brace, for example, the media will say you're a hero, no matter what you did for the other 88 minutes. On the other hand, if a defender has a great game but makes a single mistake that leads to a goal, he'll get slammed.
Watch: Gladbach inflicted a first defeat of the season on Bayern in 2015/16
bundesliga.com: Is it possible to compare the game two years and the one coming up on Saturday evening?
Johnson: No, I don’t think so. The teams aren't the same as last time, and both clubs now have different head coaches. But one thing that hasn't changed is what it means to face Bayern! It's huge for everyone. Apart from anything else, you have a lot more friends and family telling you they're going to be coming along to the game.
bundesliga.com: In spite of being fourth in the table, you currently have a goal difference of zero, having conceded as many goals as you've scored. What does that say about the Bundesliga this season?
Johnson: It shows just how competitive it can be! So many games are played on a knife-edge, and they can often be decided in the final minutes. In the past, there were games that you could be reasonably confident about winning before kick-off, but that's almost impossible now, given the strength of every club. It also means that every single point counts in terms of reaching your objectives at the end of the season.
bundesliga.com: You've only made five starts this season, but some of that has been down to your travels with the USA during FIFA World Cup qualification. How satisfied are you with your recent performances?
Johnson: Things haven't gone quite that way that I would've hoped. I know that there's a lot of competition for places here at Gladbach, but that's been the case for several years. Then again, I've always managed to fight my way back in the past, and I'm determined to do so again.
bundesliga.com: As you say, there are a lot of Gladbach players vying for a place on the wing. Have you ever thought about playing in an alternative position?
Johnson: No. I know exactly what I've already achieved with Gladbach, and I think I've shown time and time again that I belong in the team. So there's no reason for me to question my position.
bundesliga.com: Sadly, your dream of playing in a second World Cup with the USA after Brazil 2014 didn't come true. How are you coping with the disappointment?
Johnson: There’s no question that a dream was broken, it was a huge disappointment. I know from my experience in Brazil how amazing it is to be able to represent your country at such a huge tournament. There's this huge energy and excitement, because the whole world is watching you. But you simply have to be professional by putting those thoughts aside and focusing on what lies ahead.
bundesliga.com: Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic and Schalke's Weston McKennie are two of the USMNT's rising stars. What do you make of their development?
Johnson: Those two are showing that US football doesn’t have to worry too much about its future. Christian Pulisic has already played a lot of games at a very high level, and even at just 19 he's an exceptional footballer.
bundesliga.com: Pulisic and McKennie have been making waves in the Bundesliga, while Bastian Schweinsteiger went the other way and joined the MLS in March. Do you think that has helped to boost American interest in the Bundesliga?
Johnson: Whenever I've been with the national team in recent years, I've always felt a lot of US interest in the Bundesliga. People talk about the league's top stars, and the standout games between the big clubs. That wasn't necessarily the case a few years ago.
bundesliga.com: You’ll turn 30 at the beginning of December. Only ten or fifteen years ago, a player that age was considered to be at the peak of his powers, whereas nowadays it's more the beginning of the end...
Johnson: Well I still feel pretty good (laughs)! But I know what you mean. When I became a professional ten years ago, there were maybe only two or three very young players in the squad. Today it feels like the opposite is true.
bundesliga.com: Your contract with Gladbach runs until 2020. Are you already looking ahead to that date?
Johnson: Honestly, I’m not. I only extended my contract at the start of the year, and I wouldn't have done so if I was thinking about quitting. No, I still feel really good. We'll just have to wait and see what the future holds for me.
Fabian Johnson was speaking to Andreas Kötter