Asked on the eve of his first Bundesliga season what his personal goal was, Zack Steffen said it was to become the No. 1 keeper at Fortuna Duesseldorf and stay the No. 1 keeper.
With last year's starting keeper Michael Rensing out with a shoulder injury suffered in a biking accident in preseason, Steffen was quickly thrust into a starting role on goal after arriving
late for preseason camp following the Gold Cup.
And on the basis of his first game, Steffen will be hard to dislodge in goal.
The 24-year-old keeper made nine saves in his Bundesliga debut and held off Werder
Bremen on the road with a man-of-the-match performance in the second half for a 3-1 win.
Bremen had a huge edge in possession but trailed when Kenan Karaman put Fortuna ahead for
good at 2-1 in the 52nd minute.
Steffen then showed off his shot-stopping skills with two huge saves on a Nuri Sahin shot in the 55th minute and a Niclas Fuellkrug header
from close range in the 70th minute. He even stopped fellow American Josh Sargent, who had come on late in the game, after Fortuna went ahead 3-1.
"It's a lot of new challenges for
me," Steffen told Bundesliga.com, "and I want to perform and
execute my job. I've got a good group of guys around me, a good coaching staff to lift me up and give me confidence, and make me feel at home."
This is Steffen's second stint in Germany.
He signed with Freiburg after two seasons at the University of Maryland, but he only played on its second team and left for the Columbus Crew before the 2016-17 German season.