Americans Abroad Rewind: Brooks returns to action for Hertha

German-American defender John Brooks returned to the starting lineup this weekend to help Hertha Berlin win as he continued his quest for a place at the 2014 World Cup.
With the World Cup Draw setting up an intriguing matchup between the U.S. national team and Germany, all the German-Americans in the USA player pool have to be thinking about the possibility of facing their birth country in a World Cup match.

One German-American in a unique position is John Brooks. The Hertha Berlin center back has played for the USA on the senior level on multiple occasions recently, but remains eligible to play for Germany as well. He has yet to make his choice, and can’t be cap-tied until the World Cup.

Though he does clearly appear to be leaning toward the USA, we won’t know for sure just which way Brooks goes until he takes a field in a competitive match, and the World Cup could be that chance for the 20-year-old prospect to declare his national team allegiance.

In order for Brooks to get that chance, he needs to be playing regularly for Hertha Berlin, and after a lengthy injury layoff, Brooks returned to the Hertha starting lineup on Sunday, going the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 win against last-place Eintracht Braunschweig.

Brooks joined current USA castoff Timmy Chandler as the lone top German-Americans to earn starts this weekend. Fabian Johnson and Terrence Boyd came off the bench for their teams while Jermaine Jones failed to get off the bench for Schalke 04.

Chandler remains an intriguing figure for the USA. A capable right back who starts regularly in the Bundesliga, Chandler has been frozen out of the U.S. national team setup for almost a year, but given his continued steady play, and the U.S. team’s need for speedy full back options, Jurgen Klinsmann may have little choice but to bring him back into the fold. This, of course, is assuming Chandler wants to come back.

Steve Cherundolo dressed, but did not play in Hannover 96’s 4-2 loss to Stuttgart. The right back made his return from a long injury layoff last weekend.

One American player who has been steadily boosting his World Cup stock is Alejandro Bedoya. The midfielder scored again for FC Nantes, delivering the winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Marseille on Friday. The win pushed Nantes into fourth place.

In England, Tim Howard got rid of his beard, but not his outstanding form as he made four saves in Everton’s 1-1 tie against Arsenal on Sunday. The result keeps the Toffees just one point behind Manchester City for fourth place in the Premier League.

Jozy Altidore earned another start for Sunderland, but he couldn’t help the Black Cats from avoiding another defeat. This time it was a 2-1 loss to Tottenham that pushed Sunderland further back in last place, five points behind the pack.

Brad Guzan made seven saves on Sunday, but couldn’t keep Fulham from posting a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa. The loss snapped Aston Villa’s four-match unbeaten run.

In Italy, Michael Bradley’s struggle for minutes at Roma continued as he managed to only come on as a substitute soon after the end of regulation in Roma’s 2-1 win against Fiorentina on Sunday.

In Belgium, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht won their fourth match in five to climb into third place in the Jupiler League standings. The two-time defending champions posted a 2-0 triumph against Waaslad-Beveren on Saturday.