Aron Johannsson

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Aron Johannsson close to return for Werder Bremen

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United States international Aron Johannsson has been struck with injury after injury over the past four years, but the 28-year-old could be nearing a return to the Werder Bremen squad soon.

Johannsson, who has missed the entire season due to ankle problems that finally required surgery in November, “could be in squad contention again soon” according to Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt. The Bremen boss said in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s match against FC Mainz that Johannsson has made “so much progress” and is nearing his return.

Since joining the Bundesliga club in 2015 from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, Johannsson has made just 29 total appearances across all competitions thanks to hip, knee, and ankle injuries. The owner of 19 international caps and a spot on the 2014 World Cup roster, Johannsson has not played for the United States since September of 2015 largely due to his plethora of injuries.

A month ago, Johannsson told the official Bundesliga website, “My foot still stiffens up sometimes, but I wouldn’t call it painful. I’ve trained a lot recently, doing two sessions per day six days a week. I’m well prepared. The plan is for me to take part in full training regularly in a couple of weeks.”

However, it wasn’t always like that for Johannsson, who has dealt with serious pain over the past few years, even considering retirement. “I still had a lot of pain after seven months,” Johannsson said to the Bundesliga website regarding his latest ankle problem. “Then I had one of those rare bad days. I was at home and said to my wife, ‘maybe it’s the end of the line. I’ll have to see what else I can do’. I briefly thought about ending my career, but thankfully she was able to calm me down and told me I needed to be patient. The next day I was in a good mood again.”

Unfortunately for Johannsson, the competition is fierce at Werder Bremen up front. Even with 40-year-old Claudio Pizarro picking up a hamstring injury, fellow US international Josh Sargent was relegated to the bench in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with Milot Rashica and Johannes Eggestein starting up front. Rashica picked up a goal in the win to support a brace from captain Max Kruse. Still, with three league matches over the next week, Johannsson could potentially find a way in.

Bundesliga wrap: Hoffenheim, Bremen improve table hope

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
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Bayern Munich destroyed Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker on Saturday, scoring five first-half goals and eviscerating any level of doubt regarding the top side in the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: Arsenal beats Stoke ]

The league’s interest lies on escaping relegation and chasing Champions League spots. Both of those races saw movement over the weekend.

Hoffenheim 6-0 Koln

Koln’s hopes of a miraculous run out of the relegation zone were dashed at the hands of Hoffenheim, which got a blowout win with the help of another Bayern Munich man. Loanee Serge Gnabry scores twice to give him seven goals and six assists on the season as Hoffenheim stayed on the outskirts of the UEFA Champions League race.

Werder Bremen 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

An awful to start to the season has been almost completely remedied, as Zlatko Junuzovic was involved in both goals (including the below own goal) to lift Werder Bremen 10 points clear of the relegation playoff spot and hamper the visitors’ (probably expected) move into a tie for third. USMNT striker Aron Johannsson subbed into the match for the final 14 minutes, moments before Bremen scored the winner.

Elsewhere
Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Augsburg
Schalke 2-0 Freiburg
Hertha Berlin 0-0 Wolfsburg
Mainz 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
Hannover 96 2-3 RB Leipzig
Stuttgart 1-1 Hamburg

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 28 22 3 3 72 20 52 12-2-0 10-1-3 69
 FC Schalke 04 28 15 7 6 43 30 13 8-4-2 7-3-4 52
 Borussia Dortmund 28 13 9 6 54 39 15 7-4-3 6-5-3 48
 RB Leipzig 28 13 7 8 43 37 6 8-4-2 5-3-6 46
 Bayer Leverkusen 28 12 9 7 47 35 12 6-5-3 6-4-4 45
 Eintracht Frankfurt 28 13 6 9 39 32 7 7-3-4 6-3-5 45
 1899 Hoffenheim 28 11 9 8 52 41 11 8-4-2 3-5-6 42
 VfB Stuttgart 28 11 5 12 26 31 -5 8-3-3 3-2-9 38
 Mönchengladbach 28 10 7 11 36 42 -6 6-4-4 4-3-7 37
 FC Augsburg 28 9 9 10 37 36 1 5-4-5 4-5-5 36
 Hertha BSC Berlin 28 8 12 8 32 32 0 4-6-4 4-6-4 36
 Werder Bremen 28 9 9 10 32 33 -1 6-4-4 3-5-6 36
 Hannover 96 28 8 8 12 35 42 -7 6-3-5 2-5-7 32
 SC Freiburg 28 6 12 10 26 46 -20 5-6-3 1-6-7 30
 VfL Wolfsburg 28 4 14 10 28 37 -9 2-7-5 2-7-5 26
 FSV Mainz 05 28 6 8 14 29 46 -17 5-3-6 1-5-8 26
 1. FC Köln 28 5 5 18 27 55 -28 3-3-8 2-2-10 20
 Hamburger SV 28 4 7 17 20 44 -24 3-4-7 1-3-10 19

WATCH: Johannsson scores again, driven by USMNT dreams

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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He’s done it again.

USMNT striker Aron Johannsson continues to make the most of his second chance with Werder Bremen under manager Florian Kohfeldt.

[ MORE: MLS Roundtable | Predictions ]

Johannsson, 27, came off the bench to score a 78th minute equalizer as Bremen came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.

He played 12 total minutes across four appearances between Aug. 19 and Jan. 27, but has a goal and two assists in five appearances since Feb. 3.

And Johannsson admitted he’s driven by getting back in the USMNT frame, saying:

“The biggest thing in football is for me to play and represent my country. I hope I can continue to have some minutes on the pitch and score some goals and play for the national team again.”

The point boosts Bremen three points clear of 16th place Mainz and 10 clear of 17th place Hamburg.

Bremen is 3-1-1 in those matches, and the 35-year-old Kohfeldt is now 7W-4D-5L since taking over at Werder Bremen.

Here’s the goal.

WATCH: USMNT’s Johannsson stays hot with classy chip

@werderbremen_en
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My goodness, does Aron Johannsson just love a nice arc or what?

The Icelandic-Alabaman (Alabamian?) is making the most of rare playing time for Werder Bremen, adding to his role in two weekend goals by scoring his first goal since September 2016 in Tuesday’s German Cup match vs. Bayer Leverkusen.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What’s wrong with Chelsea? ]

You’ll likely recall Johannsson’s gorgeous scooped pass that helped set up Bremen’s match-winner at Schalke on Saturday.

That helped Johansson, who had played four matches for a total of 12 minutes before the weekend, get a start on Tuesday. He did not disappoint, though Bayer came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the relegation-threatened visitors 4-2.

Americans Abroad: Johannsson’s audacious pass leads Werder Bremen win

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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The world’s foremost Icelandic-Alabaman channeled his inner Hamilton and took his shot.

Given Bundesliga runs of 3, 1, 6, and 2 minutes this season, Aron Johannsson was given the lofty luxury of 34 minutes for relegation-threatened Werder Bremen on Saturday.

[ MORE: Mourinho on dropping Pogba, win ]

The USMNT’s 27-year-old did not disappoint.

Given the rare opportunity with Werder trailing 10-man Schalke 1-0 on Saturday, Johannsson played a part in the first goal when his shot was spilled into the path of clinical Max Kruse.

But his real moment came in stoppage time, with this audacious pass leading to the match-winner.

Johannsson has four goals in 19 caps for the USMNT, but has not been capped since a 2015 hip injury deprived him of time for club and country.