Americans abroad analysis

Brooks soars and Marsch cruises while Werder, Leipzig, & Stuttgart slip

We wanted a pivotal weekend for Americans abroad, and we got it. We know a lot more than we did last week. Some Americans this weekend showed where they were in battles for European places and promotion and relegation battles. Others, meanwhile, have a lot more questions to answer in the weeks ahead. ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through it in detail. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
June 07, 2020
2:05 PM

ANOTHER WEEKEND IS in the books in Europe as this highly unusual “Summer of Soccer” rolls on. German, Denmark and Austria are in full swing and Americans in these leagues are in a variety of positions at opposite sides of the table. Meanwhile, other leagues are looking to get back into the swing soon.

What did we learn this weekend? We learned a lot actually and not all of it was good news. Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen are in real trouble. Wolfsburg is surprisingly strong. Adams is still viewed as a central midfielder. On the coaching front, Pellegrino Matarazzo and Suttgart stumbled in its promotional fight while Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg are now in great shape to win the Austrian Bundesliga.

Here is a detailed breakdown.

Brooks bests Sargent in important game

It was an important game for two U.S. internationals when Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen hosted John Brooks and Wolfsburg. Both Americans got the start in this game.

The game held a lot of meaning for both teams. Werder Bremen was trying to climb out of automatic relegation and the team knew Fortuna Dusseldorf drew and Mainz won – so a result was necessary to keep pace. For Wolfsburg, the team was trying to hang onto sixth place and a spot in the Europa League next year.

The game was scoreless until Wout Weghorst nodded home a cross in the 82nd minute to give Wolfsburg a 1-0 lead. That turned out to be the final score and Wolfsburg now has a two-point cushion for sixth place.

The second straight loss for Werder Bremen has left the club in a dire situation. It is three points deep into automatic relegation and six points away from automatic survival. It has a significantly worse goal differential than any other team in the league so it will lose out on tie breakers at the moment

It is unfair to say Werder Bremen’s relegation fate is sealed because it has a favorable schedule the rest of the way. Three of its final four opponents are Koln (12th place), Mainz (15th place), and Paderborn (18th and last place). The one difficult match left is against leaders Bayern Munich.

Werder is trending down right now. It has scored just three goals since the restart, it has been shutout two games in a row, and its goalless run is now at 238 minutes.

For American forward Josh Sargent, he has yet to factor into any goal since the restart and really has not been part of many opportunities. It is alarming how many times he is actually touching the ball

  • Vs. Leverkusen:                19 minutes, 7 touches
  • Vs. Freiburg:                      63 minutes, 23 touches
  • Vs. M'Gladbach:               74 mintues, 27 touches
  • Vs. Schalke:                       70 minutes, 34 touches
  • Vs. Eintrach Frakfurt:      29 minutes, 11 touches
  • Vs. Wolfsburg:                  76 minutes, 32 touches

It is very true that Werder Bremen is not playing well in the midfield. This has made the forwards starved for service. It is fair to note as well that other forwards are also seeing the ball at similarly low rates.

Sargent’s numbers have been pretty good in recent games. Against Schalke, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Freiburg, he has been very useful in his hold-up play, drawing fouls, and winning balls in the air. He also works exceptionally hard in getting back and playing defense.

Against Wolfsburg, Sargent drew the most fouls in the game. The won dribble he won showed a lot of skill and Wolfsburg paid a lot of attention to him.


What will happen to Sargent next year? Whether or not Werder is relegated, the club will be under massive pressure to improve. If it is relegated, there will be phenomenal pressure to make an immediate return to the Bundesliga. Werder is a very big German team that is in a bad situation. Will the club make the decision that Josh Sargent is the forward who can score the goals to bring it back? That would be a huge bet on the St. Louis native as his resume is still very thin and being the starting forward for Werder has a big responsibility.

The club might also decide to buy a more established forward. Of course, it will need to address the midfield, but decisions will need to be made at forward.

As for John Brooks, he is regularly putting in consistently strong efforts dating back to when he reclaimed his starting job on February 15, following a red card suspension to Marin Pongracic. Since Brooks has returned to starting, the club has a record of five wins, two draws, and two losses.

In this game, it was yet another strong outing from Brooks.


For Brooks, consistency was always the big issue for him. He has often gone through ruts for both club and country. Right now, he’s on a very nice run that might just ensure Wolfsburg is back in the Europa League.

Brooks is now in his third season at Wolfsburg. In his first season, he struggled with injuries and adjustment issues and only played 739 minutes. That year the club only avoided relegation via a playoff. But since he’s been a regular starter the past two seasons, Wolfsburg is now been inside the league’s top six.

It hasn’t always been pretty with Brooks and he has gone through times of being bench – including this season following the winter break. But like every time before, he’s worked his way back into the mix.  

Overall, he’s been a strong investment for the club and he has contributed to massive improvement in results since his arrival. Nearly three years ago, Wolfsburg purchased Brooks for €20 million. At the time, it was a record spent on a U.S. international. So far, he’s lived up to his end of the bargain.

Adams starts in Leipzig draw

Tyler Adams earned a rare start in central midfield on Saturday for RB Leipzig in a matchup against last-place Paderborn.

It was refreshing to see him moved away from right back or right wingback and into the role which everyone seems to understand his best position.

Adams played a very strong first half and Leipzig had a 1-0 lead at the break via a goal to Patrik Schick. But the game turned in the 43rd with Leipzig was reduced to 10 players following a red card to Dayotchanculle Upamecano. Paderborn was able to secure a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw. 

What was good for Adams is that he stayed involved. Despite his team being down to 10 players, he had the most touches in the game among all players. Defensively, he did a lot of work having the most tackles and having a high number of clearances.  


But his touch map showed that he was not involved very much further up the field. Of course this is partly due to Leipzig being down a mand for the second half. But as he grows in the sport, Adams will need to be more dynamic in the final third of the field. Even as a No. 6, Champions League caliber teams will need more offense from this position. For Adams, that will include more dangerous runs and improved long balls.


Adams does a lot right on the field and he has a big upside. Starting and contributing to a Bundesliga team of this caliber is no small feat. He is still learning the ropes in Germany and he missed a ton of time with injuries. His foundation is very strong but it is clear where he has to focus to become a player who can be a very important player to top teams.

Marsch’s Salzburg surging

Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg have found a new level since the restart in Austria. It began with winning the Austrian Cup for the first bit of silverware under the American head coach. On Sunday, the club posted its second straight league win following the restart – this time a 6-0 win over Hartberg. The comes from a 2-0 win over Rapid Wien.

When you combine it with the 5-0 win over Austria Lustenau in the Cup final, Red Bull Salzburg has a 3-0-0 record in all competitions since the restart with a 13-0 combined scoreline.

Assuming LASK’s six point deduction stands for holding illegal training sessions during the shutdown, Salzburg now has a seven point lead atop the table on Wolfsberger and Rapid Wien who are even. LASK is now eight points in back and in fourth place.

For Marsch, if he completes a double it will be a remarkable achievement given the amount of players the club sold last summer and this past winter.

Matarazzo and Stuttgart stumble

VfB Stuttgart, which is managed by American Pellegrino Matarazzo, came away with just a point in a 0-0 draw against 13th place Osnabruck at home on Sunday. After consecutive wins to move into second place of the 2.Bundesliga, this draw was a big setback.

The result is that Stuttgart is just three points ahead of Hamburg SV – which plays Holstein Kiel on Monday. HSV’s superior goal differential will move it into second place with a win.

It’s been a rocky run for Matarazzo which has struggled since the restart against some of the worst teams in the 2.Bundesliga (Osnabruck and Wehan Wiesenbaden).

There are still four games remaining and Stuttgart has a favorable schedule but it is going to be very close if they finish in second place for automatic promotion.

Reyna sharp off the bench for BvB

Gio Reyna, 17, was sharp yet again for Borussia Dortmund when he came into the game in the 68th minute against Hertha BSC replacing Julian Brandt. The game was 1-0 when he entered and that turned out to be the final score.

For Reyna, it was his 12th appearance of the season and all have seen him coming off the bench. Last month he came close to making his first start but was injured in pregame warmups. In this game, he was the first player off the bench.

His first start is getting closer and Dortmund is now approaching a very safe stage in the table. It has a seven-point lead on a Champions League position and a four-point lead on third place RB Leipzig. It is also seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich. Its next two games against relegation battling Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz. So at some point, Reyna seems very likely to earn his  first start.

In this game, Reyna completed all nine of his passes but there was one moment when he beat his defender on a dribble and earned a foul. It was yet another indication of how dangerous he is and why Borussia Dortmund rates him so highly.

Others notes from Europe

The U.S. U-23 age-eligible duo of Christian Cappis (central midfield) and Emmanual Sabbi (right wing) got the start for Hobro in its Danish Superliga matchup against Lyngby and both Americans went a full 90. Hobro ended up scoring a late equalizer in this one for a 2-2 draw. The club is in a dire relegation battle and is looking like its survival hopes will go through a playoff – like it did last year.

Erik Palmer-Brown came off the bench and played 45 minutes in a 1-1 draw for Austria Vienna against St. Poelten in the relegation half of the Austrian Bundesliga. It was a disappointing result for Austria Vienna which had a 1-0 lead at the break but still sits atop his half of the Bundesliga table.

In the Bundesliga, Alfredo Morales played the final 25 minutes for Fortuna Dusseldorf in a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim. Fortuna was trailing 2-1 when he came on but was up a man since the ninth minute. Morales had some very good numbers in his time on the field with him leading the game in aerials.


Timothy Chandler played the second half for Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday in a disappointing 2-0 loss to a desperate Mainz team facing relegation. Chandler has been very good in 2020 but this was a forgettable outing.


On Friday, Julian Green earned the start for Greuther Furth in a 1-2 loss to SV Sandhausen. Green was pulled at halftime with Furth trailing 2-0. While he was relatively quiet, his raw numbers weren’t as bad as expected for a player removed after 45 minutes.


In the 2.Bundesliga, German-American Jan George scored the final goal for Jahn Regensburg in a 3-0 win over SV Darmstadt 98. George,27,  started the game, scored the goal in the 77th minute and was subbed out a minute later. With the win, Jahn Regensburg moved into 10th place in the 2.Bundesliga. In George’s career as a first-team player, he has 10 goals in the 3.Liga and 17 goals in the 2.Bundesliga.


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