Green fit for Bayern's U.S. tour
United States and Bayern Munich forward Julian Green says the sore knee that prevented him from training last week is "good," and that he's looking forward to facing many of his U.S. World Cup teammates at the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 6 (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN).
"It was just a little pain; I can play in the U.S.," the 19-year-old said on a conference call Monday, six days after Bayern coach Pep Guardiola cast doubt about his fitness ahead of the German champs' two-game stateside tour, which also includes Thursday's friendly against Mexican club Guadalajara in Harrison, New Jersey (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).
Monday marked Green's first training session with Bayern since his participation with the American squad at this summer's World Cup in Brazil. Green played only 15 minutes during the tournament -- all in extra time of the Yanks' 2-1, round of 16 loss to Belgium -- but he scored a memorable goal.
He admitted Monday that the strike gives him added self-assurance as he tries to crack the vaunted first-team roster of one of Europe's best clubs.
"The goal was very special to me," Green said. "It gave me [a lot of] confidence."
Outside of exhibition matches, Green made just one brief appearance -- in a Champions League game at CSKA Moscow -- for Bayern's senior side last season. Still, Guardiola indicated that he sees the youngster sticking with the club instead of being loaned to a team where playing time might be easier to come by.
When asked if he'd prefer the chance to get more minutes elsewhere, Green made his preference clear.
"I want to stay," he said. "I'm not thinking about a loan."
The Tampa-born, Germany-raised attacker is thinking about next week's showpiece against MLS' best. Of the 23 players picked to represent the top league in the U.S. and Canada, eight All-Stars -- Kyle Beckerman, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Rimando, DeAndre Yedlin and Graham Zusi -- were also on the American squad in Brazil.
"It's a very special game and I'm looking forward to seeing my teammates from the national team, Green said. "I know all the players from MLS. I know how good they are."
While the match will be a reunion of sorts for Green, it also represents a huge opportunity to prove himself to Guardiola, who said last week he hoped Green could "play as much as possible" during Bayern's North American swing.
"I feel the trust of him -- it's very important for a young player to feel trust from the coach," Green said of his coach. "I want to repay that trust."
And after his star turn with the U.S. in Brazil, he sounds ready to prove he deserves to stick with the Bundesliga champion and perennial Champions League contender -- not that he's taking anything for granted.
"The goal was a great experience, the whole World Cup was a great experience, and as a 19-year-old it's very important to have that," Green said.
"But for me, right now everything starts new."