Germany’s Italia ’90 World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthäus has lavished praise on Borussia Dortmund’s American winger Christian Pulisic, saying the 19-year-old is capable of changing a game “at the highest level.”
The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, missing out on a finals tournament for the first time since 1986. Pulisic, though, had a direct hand in 11 goals in the USMNT’s CONCACAF qualifying campaign.
Dortmund also endured a topsy-turvy campaign, lurching as low as eighth before qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League on the final day of the season, and yet Pulisic had arguably the best club campaign of his young career, scoring four goals, and laying on a further five that might have been 42 had his teammates been more clinical with the clear-cut chances he created.
Watch: Pulisic showed exquisite skill and poise to win December's Goal of the Month
Matthäus, who now fronts the Official Bundesliga Legends Network, thinks it’s only a matter of time before Pulisic’s performances begin to turn the tide for club and country.
“We’re happy to have these good Americans in the Bundesliga,” he explained to bundesliga.com. “They have a good mentality, a good technique, are physically very strong and fast. When I think of Pulisic he is the US Soccer Player of the Year and he can make the difference – for Dortmund too – at the very highest level.”
The USA drew 1-1 with one of the favourites for the World Cup, France, last Saturday, with Greuther Fürth’s Julian Green opening the scoring in a game in which Schalke’s Weston McKennie, Hamburg’s Bobby Wood and Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent all featured. Matthaüs thinks Pulisic and his compatriots are better players for the experience of playing in Germany.
“I think the US team can profit from this,” he concluded. “Because when players have the experience of training and playing every day with other very good players, good coaches and high-quality competition, this can only benefit their national team. I think this is why a lot of good young American players like to play in the Bundesliga.”