2019 marks Julian Green’s third season with German second-tier side Greuther Furth and the American speedster is off to his best start yet this season.
With September on the verge of ending, Greuther Furth is sitting sixth in the competitive 2. Bundesliga with 11 points through its opening seven matches of the season. The 24-year-old has three league goals including two game-winning goals in seven appearances, good for a share of the team lead in goals. Despite the club coming off a 2-0 road loss to relegated Stuttgart, Green still admits the team is in the right direction.
“It was a pretty good start for me and for the team we’ve been working very well,” Green told SBI. “When you are playing well it makes things a lot easier and even the last game against Stuttgart I thought we were the better team. We didn’t come out with the win, but I thought it was a good performance. This season we play more technical football with better ball control and more ball possession. For me, the details make a difference and I want to continue to work on my game.”
“It’s very important that we haven’t backed down to anybody. Stuttgart is one team that is a favorite to go back up to the first division. I think we showed that we can play with them and even play better than them. The most important thing is to play our style and I think it worked well against them. It’s a good sign for us as a team and we also have to continue this against the smaller teams too because you need wins to stay in the upper half of the table.”
After previous stops at Bayern Munich, Hamburg, and Stuttgart, Green has found a home with Furth. He’s totaled 62 appearances in all competitions for the club since joining originally on loan in 2017-18. After seven goals combined over the last two seasons, Green has scored three right off the bat this campaign under new manager Stefan Leitl.
Leitl originally arrived in February, but this marks his first new season with the club. He has the club playing attacking football, but is also having them now shy down to the big teams in the division. Green has benefitted from his tactics and looks to be taking his game to a new level in all areas.
“He’s [Stefan] been a big help not only for me, but also for the whole team. We have a clear plan of how we want to play and he has a clear plan as manager. We are all trying to do that on the field. It’s working pretty well so far and it was also a good move for me that he is here,” Green said.
“My game has definitely changed a lot since I’ve been here in Germany. People may not see that all the time since I’ve been with Bayern, Hamburg, and Stuttgart in the past. At Bayern, everybody knows it’s very hard to get minutes there. Since I am here in Furth, I have seen my game change because I am playing every weekend. I am feeling that I am getting better and I am still trying to get better as a player. Overall, I have been happy here.”
Not only is Green getting on the scoresheet and trying to make plays for his team, he is getting better on the defensive end as well. Leitl’s tactics has wingers coming back to help defend which is something Green has added to his game. Whether he is playing the No. 8, No. 10, or on the wing, Green knows he has to defend for the good of the team and for them to continue to be successful this campaign.
“I am always working hard for the team and defensive work is a part of the game,” Green said. “We have to do this in the matches and it’s better if we have the ball, but sometimes it’s not going to be that way. You have to be defensively good if you want to win as well. I think I am doing pretty well with that part of my game so far.”
Green is in the final year of his contract with Furth and reports out of Germany earlier this year stated the club is in talks to re-sign him. Whether he is a Greuther Furth player to start the 2020-21 season is a doubt, Green remains positive that he and the club are on good terms, especially after a sixth-place start.
“We are always in good talks with the club and we still have this season to figure things out,” Green said. “Right now I am just focusing on Furth and the next games. We still have time to work it out. If there is anything happening you will know it.”
Unlike earlier in his career, the Tampa native is joined at Furth by a pair of Americans who are trying to work their way into the first team. Blaine Ferri and Malik McLemore currently play for Furth II (the club’s Under-23 team), which has allowed Green the opportunity to watch them develop into professionals. It’s also another pair of Americans who have made the trek to Germany, a trend that hasn’t surprised Green with the amount of talent the U.S. produces.
“Blaine has trained and played with the first team in a friendly and I’ve seen him a few times in training as well. He’s a very young player and a very good player. I like what I saw in training from him. Overall, it’s nice to see American kids making the move to Germany,” Green said.
“I am not surprised with the number of players here in Germany. I think this is the normal way to do things if you are a player. All of the players should have a goal to make the move to Europe in my opinion. I am happy to see it happening because we have very good players in the U.S.”
After breaking onto the U.S. Men’s National Team scene at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Green is now waiting in the wings for his next opportunity to represent his county. Green won seven caps for the USMNT in 2018 under then head coach Dave Sarachan, which featured his first goal since 2016, against eventual World Cup winners France.
Green has yet to receive a call-up under new head coach Gregg Berhalter, but his strong start to the season could see him brought in for October Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada. With the amount of options for Berhalter to choose from it may be tough, but the delay in his National Team career isn’t dampening his spirits of getting back
“Yes of course I hope to be back,” Green said. “It’s always the biggest honor for a soccer player to play for the National Team. It’s a big goal to be there and be back soon. The only thing I can do is continuing to do well at Furth and being focused and ready for the chance. I will work hard for it.”