Aron Johannsson, German Bundesliga, Leagues, Story, United States, Werder Bremen

U.S. forward Aron Johannsson, who has been dealing with knee problems most of the season, puts Werder Bremen ahead 2-0 against Bayer Leverkusen in his return to the starting XI.
ESPN FC’s Brian McBride echoes similar sentiments to DeAndre Yedlin, who believes quality players are “slipping through the net” in the U.S. development system.

United States international Aron Johannsson could make his first Bundesliga start since September 2016 when Werder Bremen faces Wolfsburg on Sunday.

The 27-year-old made his first start of the season in the DFB Pokal defeat at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday and was on target in the first half before leaving the pitch with a minor hip injury.

Johannsson had been all but written off at Bremen, where he struggled for playing time since sustaining a hip injury shortly after his transfer from AZ Alkmaar in 2015.

In his spell with the Bundesliga side, the Alabama-born Johannsson played in just 22 competitive matches, but within a week revived his career as coach Florian Kohfeldt moved him to the right wing.

Last Saturday, he came off the bench in the 56th minute with Bremen down 1-0 at Schalke. He then had his hand in both goals as they recorded a 2-1 comeback win at the Veltins Arena.

He then made his first start of the season in the cup clash at Leverkusen, and although Bremen eventually lost the tie 4-2 after extra time, Johannsson again put in a good performance as he handed Werder an early 2-0 lead with a chip over Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Having received a knock in the first half, Johannsson, under contract at Bremen until 2019, did not return for the second half, but he won the trust of Kohfeldt, who has moved him to the right wing and believes this could be his future position.

“He played really well, not only in attack but also when defending,” the Bremen coach told reporters

“I did not substitute him because of his performance. Aron picked up a knock to his hip, and it went numb, but it’s nothing we must worry about, I believe. He should return for Sunday.”

Last week, Bremen climbed out of the relegation ranks with the 2-1 win over Schalke, and on Sunday, they could make another crucial step towards another year of top-flight football when they take on Wolfsburg, currently four points ahead of them.

If fit in time, Johannsson could then make his first league start for Bremen since Sept. 11, 2016, when he played 69 minutes in the 2-1 defeat to Augsburg.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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