The Bundesliga is back and that means one thing and one thing only for the American soccer fan- it’s Puli-time!
Yes, Christian Pulisic is back playing with Borussia Dortmund, so how did he do in week one? Pretty well, thanks. The 18-year-old, he turns 19 on September 19, scored Dortmund’s first Bundesliga goal of the campaign and then capped his afternoon by putting the ball on a platter for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to set the 3-0 final score at Wolfsburg before departing to enthusiastic applause from Dortmund’s traveling fans.
It was an auspicious start for the young man from Hershey, Pennsylvania and one that his Dortmund side badly needed, given a glut of injuries, along with the slow moving Ousmane Dembele defection to Barcelona.
When Peter Bosz moved over from Ajax to replace Thomas Tuchel, the manager who gave Pulisic his start, there was some concern that the U.S. MNT’s most important player might see his role with the Black and Yellows diminish, instead necessity may increase Pulisic’s stature within the BVB universe.
German internationals Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle lead a lengthy injury list, 20-year-old rising star Ousmane Dembele is suspended indefinitely as his push to join Barca drags on and recent reports indicate that Aubameyang could be on the move before the transfer window finally slams shut at month’s end.
It seems like a lot to put on a young American but we have seen Pulisic accelerate his timetable with the U.S. Men’s National Team, moving quickly from promising youngster to the team’s best player, so it would be unwise to bet against the skilled attacker.
Pulisic met 2017-18 head on with a goal in a 2-2 draw versus German giants Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup on August 5, Bayern won on penalty kicks.
So perhaps we should have seen Saturday’s performance in Dortmund’s Bundesliga opener coming. And maybe we should brace ourselves for the pending arrival of America’s first genuine international soccer star.
To reach that lofty status Pulisic will need to continue the progress he made last season, his first full season in the Bundesliga. Playing almost exclusively as a winger at BVB Pulisic has already made the transition to a central attacking and playmaking role with the national team.
Odds are that Pulisic will remain a wide threat for Dortmund, although one who likes to cut in on goal, though an Aubameyang move could change that.
With a pair of World Cup Qualifiers coming up on September 1st and 5th versus Costa Rica, at Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, New Jersey, and Honduras, in Honduras, the U.S. will be looking to Pulisic to lead them.
And while he remains in a supporting role for now at Dortmund, it is beginning to look like Puli-time could be coming to the Bundesliga ahead of schedule.