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2018/19 German Bundesliga
  • Kevin Möhwald (20')
  • Martin Harnik (71')
  • Joshua Sargent (78')
  • Dodi Lukebakio (43' PEN)

U.S. youngster Josh Sargent scores for Werder Bremen in Bundesliga debut

American striker Josh Sargent, 18, scored on his first touch in the Bundesliga -- two minutes into his professional club debut -- with a 78th-minute header that helped Werder Bremen beat visiting Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-1 on Friday.

Sargent, who joined Bremen last winter, scored after Davy Klaassen sent a pass into the penalty area from 30 yards that was toe-poked by Martin Harnik. The ball bounced off a shoulder of goalkeeper Michael Rensing, and Sargent raced in to nod the ball into the goal from one yard.

Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt said afterwards: "There's so much in that lad, I am not expecting him to put up with this [the media attention]. He scored a goal. But beside that also had a couple of scenes which were not that great."

And later he told Eurosport: "He's a good lad. He's got some confidence in training, but that's positive. He won't lose his mind. He worked an awful lot on his physicality. The original plan was January, South Africa training camp. But we had this situation today."

Sargent also scored in his U.S. national team debut, a May 28 friendly against Bolivia.

The forward left St. Dominic High School in O'Fallon, Missouri, in the middle of 10th grade to join the U.S. under-17 team's residency camp in Bradenton, Florida, and scored four goals in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup and three more at that year's Under-17 World Cup. He has two goals in six international appearances, also scoring against Peru in October.

He turned 18 on Feb. 20 and was not eligible to play for Bremen's first team until the 2018-19 season. He has seven goals in 12 games this season for Werder Bremen II in the fourth tier.

Bremen won for the first time in six league games to move up to seventh place.

Max Kruse set up Kevin Moehwald for Bremen's opening goal after 20 minutes. But last-place Duesseldorf equalised near the end of the first half when Belgian forward Dodi Lukebakio scored a penalty after centre-half Sebastian Langkamp was penalised for a handball.

After Lukebakio went close to putting the visitors ahead, Austrian striker Martin Harnik put Bremen back in front from inside the penalty area in the 71st. Five minutes later, Sargent replaced Milot Rashica and was soon celebrating his first Bundesliga goal.

Promoted Duesseldorf has now lost nine of 14 matches since its top-flight return as second-division champion.