Zack Steffen’s loan spell at Fortuna Dusseldorf is off to a dream start after the U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper turned in a strong showing in his team’s Bundesliga opener.
Steffen recorded eight saves to help Fortuna Dusseldorf record a 3-1 victory against Werder Bremen.
Steffen’s Bundesliga debut didn’t start out looking like it would be a winning one, not with Werder Bremen controlling the action in the first half. Fortuna Dusseldorf weathered the first-half pressure though, and Bremen failed to turn its control into serious chances before Dusseldorf opened the scoring in the 36th minute courtesy of a Rouwen Hennings finish.
Dusseldorf held the 1-0 lead at halftime, but an early turnover in the second half led to a Bremen equalizer. American midfielder Alfredo Morales and Steffen failed to deal with a ball in the penalty area, which eventually led to a Dusseldorf turnover that sparked a Bremen counter. Steffen couldn’t keep out Johannes Eggestein’ header in the 47th minute.
Fortuna Dusseldorf responded well to that equalizer, with Kenan Karaman scoring to give the visitors the lead back just five minutes later.
Steffen ensured that Dusseldorf held on to the lead, making all of his saves from the 55th minute on, and his most impressive saves of the day with Dusseldorf leading.
His first highlight-reel save came in the 58th minute when he denied a Nuri Sahin shot with a reaction save. Steffen topped that save with another jaw-dropping stop in the 70th minute, denying a Niclas Füllkrug header from close range.
USMNT prospect Josh Sargent came on as an 82nd-minute substitute for Werder Bremen. The teenage striker was active during his appearance, but Steffen did well to keep his compatriot from finding a goal.
Steffen’s final save of the day denied a Sargent volley attempt in the fourth minute of stoppage time, with the young striker making good contact to deliver a well-struck volley, but Steffen did well to get in front of the shot, blocking it with his chest.
Fortuna Dusseldorf returns to action on August 24 at home against Bayer Leverkusen, while Werder Bremen will look to rebound with a win on the road against Hoffenheim.