The close connection between U.S. Soccer and the Bundesliga is about to become stronger thanks to talented youngster Timothy Tillman, who will play this season for Nuremberg on loan from Bayern Munich and is reportedly ready to switch his international allegiance from Germany to represent the United States.
1) Family ties
bundesliga.com unravels everything you need to know about this dual-national star in the making.
Although Tillman was born in Nuremberg, has lived his whole life in Germany, represented his country of birth from Under-15 to U-19 level and cut his footballing teeth with Bundesliga 2 side Greuther Fürth, he is eligible to represent the Stars and Stripes at international level through his father, who is an American citizen. His younger brother Malik, who also plays for Bayern, enjoys this same privilege and has already switched his allegiance to the U.S., where he has competed with the U-15 squad.
2) An American Tradition
Tillman turned up for a U-20 training camp with the U.S. in March 2018 under coach Tab Ramos, who told goal.com that the youngster is "ready to go and ready to join" the American youth squad. Tillman still needs to submit a formal request to FIFA before actually playing for the Americans, but his intentions seem firm.
This would make him the latest Bundesliga-bred talent to choose the U.S. over Germany. The list of dual nationals that went this route includes names like Stuttgart’s Julian Green (on loan at Greuther Fürth), LA Galaxy’s Jermaine Jones and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson.
3) Greatness in sight
Tillman’s progression through the Bayern youth system has gone smoothly since his arrival to the club in 2015. His main occupation last season was with the reserves in the Bayern Regionalliga, the fourth tier of German football, where was been a regular starter.
In August 2017, he was part of the Bayern squad that won the DFL Supercup over Borussia Dortmund in dramatic fashion from the penalty spot. Although he did not play, being called to the first team in such a scenario is a clear sign of the confidence the club have in their young star.
4) A resourceful trickster
If one were to draw a parallel between Timothy Tillman and a current member of the Bayern first team, the name Kingsley Coman immediately comes to mind. They are both right-footed left wingers and they both display a level of technical proficiency one would not expect from players with a tall frame.
Standing at 5ft 11in, Tillman loves to dribble his way past the left flank in search of a cut-in to shoot at goal with his right foot, like a mirrored Arjen Robben. His repertoire includes a strong footwork that allows him to play all sorts of tricks on his opposition in confined spaces. He is also useful as an attacking midfielder with good playmaking judgement, second striker or right winger.
5) Hot property
The Bayern youngster has also made headlines in recent times by drawing interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe. In early 2017, Barcelona reportedly made an offer for him, only to be met by a resounding Bavarian 'nein'. Real Madrid were also linked with a move for Tillman after an impressive display against Atletico in the UEFA Youth League.
In spite of the buzz, Bayern would prefer to see their investment in the young German-American pay off in goals instead of euros. Tillman's move to Nuremberg, a club located in the state of Bavaria where he will remain close to the record champions, will be an important step in his development.