Commentary

Germans heap praise upon Pulisic

By Mike Woitalla

That’s right, an 18-year-old American stole the show when the German Bundesliga kicked off its season last weekend. Christian Pulisic’s performance in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 win at VfL Wolfsburg earned him "Man of the Matchday 1" honors -- and heaps of praise.

Pulisic scored and assisted in the opening day's most dominating win. The Bundesliga's official web site named him top player of Week 1 action while media paid especially close attention to Borussia Dortmund's performance because of its kickoff without French winger Ousmane Dembele. He was suspended by the club for skipping practice in the midst of a courtship with Barcelona.

BVB is asking Barcelona for a $177 million transfer fee. In the meanwhile, Pulisic started on the right wing in Dembele's place.

"That BVB could actually do without Dembele showed in the game against Wolfsburg, in which shooting star Christian Pulisic was BVB's best man," reported Focus.de.

In the 17th minute, Pulisic delivered a pinpoint cross that Gonzalo Castro hit wide. In the 22nd minute, Pulisic opened the scoring by rifling a shot between two defenders, and he set up the third with a sharp, precise pass across the goal area that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just had to tap in.

Pulisic earned Kicker’s highest rating for the game — a 1.5, the equivalent of an A-. The next highest rated BVB players, Mario Goetze and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, each earned 2s, or Bs.

A 1.5 was the highest rating Kicker handed out in the weekend's nine games, in which more than 200 players took part, with only four other players earning that grade: Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulrich, Hertha Berlin's Matthew Leckie, who scored twice in a 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Moenchengladbach's Nico Elvedi, a defender who scored in a 1-0 win over FC Cologne, and Gladbach's midfielder Ibrahima Traore.

Former BVB and Germany defender Christoph Metzelder, now a Sky TV pundit, said, “Perhaps BVB already has the new Dembele in its roster.” SportBild wrote: “Pulisic has everything that Dembele has. He is fast, tricky, and is goal-dangerous.”

Pulisic's teammate Nuri Sahin said: “Christian is a difference maker, every minute, at any time."

Revier Sport reported that Pulisic "embarrassed his marker Yannick Gerhardt time and time again."

• Borussia Dortmund's home opener is against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, 12:30 pm ET, Fox Sports1.

• BVB, the defending German Cup champ, drew third division FC Magdeburg as its second-round DFB Pokal opponent, on Oct. 24 or 25.

15 comments about "Germans heap praise upon Pulisic".
  1. uffe gustafsson, August 21, 2017 at 9:46 p.m.

    Mike think some of the pundits on this site might have to eat their own words. As in USA never will produce a world class player.
    Yes it's to early but I like some apologies from several pundits and acknowledge you might just be wrong at least for now. But I'm not holding my breath for any of the nay Sayers to fess up.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, August 22, 2017 at 6:28 p.m.

    Not that I read most of the articles or forum posts, but I don't recall anyone, pundit or otherwise, saying that the US would never produce "a world class player." The US has already produced a few widely acclaimed world class players. Although a tiny few fans don't consider women and keepers as players, I do. A few others would simply raise the usually undefined "world class" threshold to a finalist for FIFA male player of the world, which is so exclusive it becomes a rather useless standard.

  3. Eve Montgomery, August 21, 2017 at 10:19 p.m.

    Baseless rubbish: "USA never will produce a world class player." Longing for insight not bias...

  4. uffe gustafsson, August 21, 2017 at 11:11 p.m.

    That's the first one.LOL
    More to come. The nay Sayers are relentless

  5. Chris Lipscomb, August 22, 2017 at 12:50 a.m.

    Wow, love to see the stereotypical bias you would expect from Europe, but at the end of the day, this kid goes beyond athleticism which we so often see - he makes the right decisions and understands the bigger picture of the game! It's as much mental as physical if not ore from this kid.

    And that makes a superstar - equally as well with left or right side, strong basic skills (trapping).

    Head above other American players moving abroad.

    Game changer every time I see him hit the pitch.

  6. William Freedon, August 22, 2017 at 1:05 p.m.

    I think "uffe" is criticizing the "nay Sayers," not agreeing with them. Granted, his choice of wording is a bit garbled. Bottom line: Pulisic had an excellent outing, demonstrating that he is progressing nicely in his development. Dembele's presence last year, and absence (so far) this year, has been a boon to his maturation as a player. Last year he was the dutiful team player, carrying out Tuchel's instructions to the letter - staying out wide, providing crosses into the center for Aubamayeng and others to harvest into goals. This year he seems to have been let loose a bit, still working the wings, but eager to mix it up a bit by charging into the center and letting fly shots on goal. It's great for him and good for the team since it makes him that much more unpredictable to BVB's opponents. All in all, a wonderful start to the season.

  7. beautiful game, August 22, 2017 at 9:41 p.m.

    Once Pulisic proves his consistency, only then will he be recognized for his accomplishments.

  8. Wooden Ships, August 22, 2017 at 11:12 p.m.

    I w, if you're talking about pantheons, then its early. However, his to date accomplishments already surpass anything any other US raised player has achieved. Its not even a discussion. Sure, longevity and consistency are lasting, but we've not witnessed this ever.

  9. Andrew Kear, August 23, 2017 at 9:36 a.m.

    Is this the American international star we have been waiting for.

  10. Wooden Ships replied, August 23, 2017 at 3:57 p.m.

    I think we have to say yes, Andrew. We've had players playing abroad that had several stellar seasons with this club or that, in this position or that. However, not at this age, with this intellect, imagination, confidence and technical touch on the ball. All this with one of the Top 10 clubs in Europe. We have more young ones overseas with much promise and a high ceiling, but will they and do they have the background of playing free.

  11. frank schoon, August 24, 2017 at 10:21 a.m.

    What is more interesting to me is the development of Pulisic as a player,especially under Bosz his dutch coach , who tend to allow players more freedom of play , and his growth as a player compared to those on the USMNT, over the coming year. Young, talented players, sooner or later will go through a downside in their playing, which comes as a natural progression, so this is expected from Pulisic as well. One good thing, Pulisic did was the choice of country to go play and develop. If he chose Italy, it would have been so much tougher for him to develop for there for he would be marked so tight defensively.
    This is why you don't hear many talented 18 year olds there. Furthermore, because most countries plays in an era of flatback defense, thus zonally, which further allows him to develop for he is given more space to operate in. Next he is so fortunate that the Dutch style of soccer employs a lot of space concepts. Bosz will give him more knowledge of how to position himself better off the ball because you have to realize his opponents around the league, now that he receives more playing time, are beginning to learn how he plays and the patterns he runs which forces him to have to play smarter and think more through the positioning game.

  12. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 24, 2017 at 12:46 p.m.

    Now that your past statements about how Pulisic is a middling scrub look untenable, you've decided to give all credit to the Dutch coach he's worked with for about a month. Predictable.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 6:14 a.m.

    Frank, I agree with you. Pulisic's move to Dortman has proven to have been an excellent choice. So far he has been very fortunate in the circumstances. I wish that his good fortune continues.

  14. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 7:37 a.m.

    Bob, also realize he plays for a team that is better than almost all of the other teams. Let us see how he would have fared playing for a team who tends be always near relegation where you try to survive.

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