Ghana's group opponents at the 2014 World Cup - the USA, have named a strong squad including a quartet from the German Bundesliga in their final squad for next month's showdown.
Munich - US men's national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann has named four Bundesliga players in his final 23-man squad for this summer's 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.Timothy Chandler (1. FC Nürnberg), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin) and Julian Green (FC Bayern München) have all made the cut in the former Germany head coach's definitive squad for the finals which, for the USA, get underway with a Group G game against Ghana in Natal on 16 June.
Mixed club fortunes for Chandler and Johnson
“For the players, it’s very important to know that they're now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision,” said Klinsmann, whose goals helped Germany to victory in the 1990 World Cup and who subsequently led them to third place as host nation at the 2006 finals.
The German-based quartet in the US squad enjoyed very contrasting fortunes in the Bundesliga season just ended. Frankfurt-born full back Chandler made 19 starting appearances for Nürnberg in a turbulent campaign which ended with der Club dropping out of the top flight for a record eighth time. Johnson, who grew up in Munich and cut his professional teeth with TSV 1860 and VfL Wolfsburg before moving to 1899 Hoffenheim in 2011, played an integral part in an anything-but-dull campaign for Markus Gisdol's charges. Borussia Mönchengladbach took due note and, back in February, moved swiftly to secure the services of the 26-year-old defensive all-rounder for the coming season.
Youngsters on the up
Brooks mustered 14 starting appearances in his first top-flight season with hometown club Hertha. The rangy 21-year-old central defender bagged a couple of goals for good measure and, a few teething troubles notwithstanding, is now regarded as one of the league's most promising back-row prospects.
Given the ferocious competition for squad places at FC Bayern, Julian Green had to be content with a regular starting slot for the reserves in 2013/14. Born in Tampa, Florida, to a German mother and American father, the exciting attacking midfielder has been working his way through the double winners' youth ranks since 2009 and got a brief taste of UEFA Champions League action off the bench at CSKA Moscow last November. Now, like his three Bundesliga colleagues, the 18-year-old talent hopes to get the opportunity to show what he can do on the biggest football stage of all in Brazil.
Pick your dream Bundesliga XI to appear at the 2014 World Cup here and take a look at the candidates on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: