When Julian Green exercised his one-time switch to join the United States national team, it was an exciting prospect for many Bayern Munich fans who knew of him. After last summer when he appeared out of nowhere to be a surprising inclusion in Pep Guardiola's senior team summer camp, to spending the fall and winter bouncing back and forth between the senior and reserve sides, he increasingly became a hot topic of focus and interest in US Soccer circles. In that time, he was scoring at a near break neck pace for the Bayern reserves as they opened up a substantial lead on their league rivals.
A 5 minute appearance during a rout of CSKA Moscow was the only real view of his ability against better opposition. The same issue persisted after his two brief cameos for the United States in the lead up to Brazil. He has the talent to break down the Regionalliga Bayern, but was he ready to make the jump to a stage that was bigger and brighter?
After yesterday, hope has turned to certainty.
While scoring the lone goal for the United States, Green exercised a determined approach as he repeatedly turned Belgium's rightback Toby Alderweireld into his personal rag doll. The goal he scored showed an advanced reading of the game, exploiting a momentary channel between Daniel van Buyten and Alderweireld to great effect. Finishing that move with a mid-air side volley off Michael Bradley's brilliant pass added difficulty to what was already a difficult play. While his final shot was scuffed(and still scored!), it was the audaciousness of the attempt that so highlights what Julian Green can bring. His attacking read of the game is already in place and the ability to respond to his teammates is there. Beyond the goal, Green burned past Alderweireld on several opportunities, scattering the Belgium defense and opening passing lanes and holes for the USA to attack Thibait Courtuois' goal. While we should hesitate in some ways to put too much stock in those few moments (given that the Belgian defense had just spent the last 105 minutes in the heat and humidity of Salvador) the main overarching theme is once again that the attacking pedigree and skill on-the-ball are there.
This summer we've already seen Bayern Munich lose Alessandro Schöpf, who is undeniably another phenomenal talent to emerge from the Bayern Munich academy system, to FC Nürnberg. The same situation happened with Emre Can when he left for Bayer Leverkusen. In both circumstances Bayern Munich retained a buyback clause provision. However, as shown with Emre Can, sometimes those situations don't work out right for Bayern Munich.
Julian Green fits the same mold. An advanced pedigree, youth, and in a position where Bayern Munich already have significant depth. The ultimate question is can he contribute at Bayern Munich? He's probably not ready yet.
The only issue being yesterday's performance advanced his timetable considerably. Now expect teams to come knocking looking to see if they can catch a windfall with the same kind of deal. A loan move may even be out of the question given how the Can and Schöpf situations have turned out. And once Julian Green is away from Bayern Munich, the chances of him coming back probably diminish drastically. Are we prepared to lose another young talent?