Johnson to Germany: U.S. not easy
U.S. international Fabian Johnson has warned his old teammates Sami Khedira, Manuel Neuer and Mesut Ozil that beating the United States will not be easy.
Jurgen Klinsmann's men face Germany in their final Group G match on June 26, after first meeting Ghana and Portugal. The game between the two sides will be about more than Klinsmann and Berti Vogts facing the country they both won a World Cup trophy with and successfully coached.
It also will be about Johnson and his U.S. teammate Jermaine Jones, who have previously played for Germany. Jones, 32, won three caps for Germany in friendlies back in 2008, and Fabian Johnson was part of the under-21 team that won the European Championships in 2009.
That year, he played alongside the likes of Neuer, Ozil, Khedira and Mats Hummels, whom he will now oppose.
"There are no pushovers in this group," Johnson told German newspaper Bild. "It is a strong and even group. Germany also needs to beat the other teams -- and that includes us.
"I am half-American and half-German. I am really looking forward to the match. But right now I don't have any special feeling. And maybe in the final group game it's not that important anymore who wins it.
"Should we beat Ghana, a lot is possible."
Johnson is one of five German-Americans on the 23-man U.S. World Cup squad. When he was transferred from 1860 Munich to Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg as a 21-year-old in the summer of 2009, he was tipped for greater things to come, but his career stalled.
"It just didn't turn out the way I had expected it after my transfer to Wolfsburg. During my time at the club, I had more coaches than other players in their entire career. That was a difficult time for a young player," Johnson said.
However, at age 26, Johnson by now is a veteran Bundesliga player, and has just signed with Borussia Monchengladbach, which will play in Europa League next season.
On Monday, he is also set for his World Cup debut, less than three years after his debut for the U.S. team in November 2011.
"I really enjoyed the first training camp with the team," Johnson said about why he switched nationalities. "And also because of Jurgen Klinsmann. He's just an incredibly ambitious coach. He wants to make every single player better."