Tillman to be the Talisman?

Tillman joins Rangers from Bayern Munich with a lot of optimism. (Photo by Nico Paetzel/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Rangers have announced the signing of Malik Tillman from Bayern Munich on a season-long loan with the option to buy next summer. Malik follows Tom Lawrence, Antonio Colak, John Souttar and Rabbi Matondo in joining Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s squad this season as they look to regain the Scottish Premiership title. Tillman joins as an unknown quantity, leaving fans wondering what to expect from their new prospect.

So far Malik Tillman has only played in seven first team games but has had plenty of experience in Bayern Munich’s second team in the fourth division of the German football league. In that time, he got eight goal contributions in a total of 15 games. Although he is a hot prospect in Europe, Bayern Munich don’t see him breaking into the first team anytime soon and are happy to move him on, for the right price.

I spoke with someone who will have more knowledge of Tillman than myself and has a vested interest in his development for his national team. Tom Sweezy of MLS Aces podcast has followed his progress so far in his career and is excited to see how he progresses.

“The most I’ve been able to really watch his play have been his 2 USMNT caps so far. He made his debut for 25 minutes against Morocco, who are no weakling in the larger global view. I wouldn’t say that I came out of that debut overly impressed with what he can do. Some poor touches, a little sloppy, but you saw small flashes of his skill. Tillman would then get 45 minutes against Grenada in CONCACAF Nations League. There he looked much more like a fit into this squad and a reason why Gregg Burhalter called him in.

“I can’t say that I have been able to see a ton of Malik on the club side as he is another Bayern product with only a few 1st team caps. You can tell by the numbers online, Malik has 7 appearances & 1 goal for Bayern’s 1st team, all 7 coming in this last season. It seems to me that Bayern views him as 1st team minutes ready… but not ready yet to join the Bayern squad, loaning him to a strong club in Europe like Rangers makes sense to me. Malik is a natural 10 that is going to get mixed in with the attack. “

Although Tillman has been at Bayern Munich from a young age, it was really his brother who gained the spotlight in the US as he was tipped to break into the United States Men’s National Team. Malik’s brother, Timothy has also been at Bayern Munich where he made his professional debut in the Regionalliga Bayern. However, Timothy couldn’t transform the potential he had shown in his first season and after a loan to FC Nurnberg, he signed for Greuther Furth, which was his youth club in 2020.

Speaking about the comparison of the two brothers, Tom said he is surprised in the turn of events, given the hype around Timothy in his early days and how Tillman has a lot of potential in him, with first team minutes being the key to his development:

“The funny thing about Malik Tillman is that his brother, Timothy, was on the USMNT radar a few years ago as well. I’m not exactly sure what happened to Timothy’s prospect of joining the USMNT, but I am excited that we were able to grab Malik.

“Overall, for a 20-year-old, I think Malik Tillman is good. I think he has a ton of room left to grow into his future potential and getting consistent first team minutes will help draw that out of him. I don’t see Tillman being a part of the USMNT 26-man squad going to Qatar, but in 2026… I sure can see him representing the USMNT here in the states.”

Following the USA’s CONCACAF Nations League games against Gernada and El Salvador, Tillman will join up with his new teammates with friendlies against West Ham and Tottenham possibly giving fans a glimpse of their new signing.

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