⚽ M. Bülter (50), ⚽ K. Karaman (79)
⚽ N. Schlotterbeck (38), ⚽ R. Guerreiro (60)
By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
Speaking to ESPN’s Archie Rhind-Tutt just prior to kickoff in the 100th Bundesliga Revierderby, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl commented on Giovanni Reyna’s surprise absence from the BVB staring XI.
|Giovanni Reyna.||Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0|
A majority of Bundesliga watchers fully expected to see a start for Giovanni Reyna on Saturday evening after it was confirmed that Julian Brandt would not be available for die Schwarzgelben. When the team sheets were released, however, Reyna remained absent from the starting blocks.
Widely regarded to have given a poor performance in relief of Brandt in Tuesday’s Champions’ League loss, it appeared as if the BVB coaching team found themselves not entirely content with the young American’s current form.
ESPN pitch side reporter Archie Rhind-Tutt probed Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl for an answer to this very question during his pre-match interview. Rhind-Tutt asked if Reyna had “failed to take his chance”.
“To be honest it wasn’t easy for him to come onto the pitch after three minutes,” Kehl answered, “That was very unexpected for both him and the team. In that situation it took him some time to get into the game. I think he did much better in the second half. It wasn’t his fault that we went out.”
“Gio gave his best,” Kehl continued, “He’s improving. He’s developing. He’s doing good work in training. Of course he’s not perfectly happy that he’s not getting playing time at the moment, but I’m fairly certain that he’ll come on the pitch today. He just needs to work hard for it.”
Reyna did come on for the final ten minutes, racking up 10 touches, looking a little slow, and winning just under a quarter of his direct duels. The 20-year-old’s calendar year got off to a cracking start after the controversy that embroiled him during the winter World Cup.
Backed unequivocally by Kehl, Reyna scored the first two match winners off the bench in the first two games that kicked off Dortmund’s unprecedented ten-match winning streak. Reyna scored his third goal of 2023 in the matchday 19 victory over Freiburg.
After a poor job as a starter against Werder Bremen in round 20, Gio then went unused even as anything other than a time killing sub for five consecutive matches. The youngster remains one of the squad’s higher scorers, with five tallies registered in the current campaign.