If you're a fan of U.S. soccer, it's always worth having your eyes on the Bundesliga, or at least on German soccer.
Last weekend was a rough one, but the midweek cup action and some surprising transfer news made the last five days very entertaining.
Let's start with a little recap of the DFB-Pokal. Bobby Wood scored in a 2-0 win for Hamburg over Koln. Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks played an absolutely fantastic game game against Christian Pulisic and Dortmund, but an assist from the young winger helped level the match at 1-1 and lead to a shootout victory for Dortmund (despite Pulisic having his penalty saved).
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Monchengladbach also advanced with a 2-0 win over Greuther Furth, with Johnson supplying the assist for the first goal. Timmy Chandler also notched an assist as his Eintracht Frankfurt team took a 2-1 win over Hannover.
All but Brooks will move on to the cup quarterfinals. With Monchengladbach and Hamburg facing off, at least one of the top American players in Germany will be playing in the semifinals. And with Dortmund and Eintracht both missing Bayern in the draw, it's not out of the question that the DFB Pokal semifinals could feature three prominent U.S. players on three different teams.
As if that wasn't enough, a relatively unknown Bayern prospect with U.S. ties made headlines midweek when it was reported that Barcelona was interested in his services. The name Timothy Tillman may not ring any bells — it certainly didn't for me — but U.S. Under-20 coach Tab Ramos told Goal that the national team is "on top of it" in terms of trying to get the 18-year-old midfielder on board.
In essence, it was a busy and exciting week for Americans in Germany, but the weekend brings them all right back to the grind.
Pulisic and Dortmund are back in action Saturday against Terrence Boyd and Darmstadt. Boyd was a starter last week against Frankfurt, but his club continues to struggle and is rooted to the bottom of the table. Even a win over Dortmund would leave Boyd's side, at the very best, four points back of safety.
Wood and Hamburg, who are also in the middle of the relegation battle, face off against RB Leipzig, the team that has shocked the Bundesliga this season and sits second.
Chandler and Eintracht face a big test of their Champions League credentials with a match against Bayer Leverkusen, with Eintracht's lead on fourth-place Dortmund sitting at just one point.
Outside of Germany, Emerson Hyndman continues to play well for Rangers. His side will be in Scottish Cup action Sunday against Greenock Morton. The cup is the best chance for Rangers to win a trophy this season, with Celtic having a dominant lead in the league table.
DeAndre Yedlin put in another good showing against Derby County last week, making a saving clearance to preserve the win for Newcastle. His club is on top of the Championship table and is starting to put some distance between itself and the pack that sits just outside the automatic promotion places.
The top two teams will go up to the Premier League next season, and as it stands the gap between Newcastle and third place is six points, but Newcastle holds a game in hand on Reading as well. A win over a struggling Wolves team Saturday could open that gap up even more.
In Mexico, Club Tijuana continues to top the table and Paul Arriola continues to make waves, scoring the fourth in Xolos' 4-2 win over Leon. Joe Corona also played 82 minutes in the win last weekend, though defender Michael Orozco only lasted 20 minutes before being withdrawn with an injury. This week Tijuana has a Friday match against Necaxa, a team with just one win in five to start the season.