Giovanni Reyna’s long wait finally came to an end in winning fashion at Red Bull Arena.
After both a prematch injury and illness stood in the way of two earlier attempts to earn his first Bundesliga start, Reyna got to cross that milestone off his checklist in style. Lucien Favre gave Reyna his first league start on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund downed RB Leipzig 2-0 away from home.
It was a positive performance from the 17-year-old who registered his first league assist and played 81 minutes overall. Reyna linked up with fellow young phenom Erling Haaland 30 minutes into the match for the opening goal of the match before the Norwegian iced the win in second-half stoppage time.
Haaland, who has developed a partnership with Reyna during their time in Dortmund, praised the playmaker’s impact at such a young age.
“I called him [Reyna] ‘the American dream’ before,” Haaland said in a post match interview with Bundesliga.com. “He’s 17 years old, and what he’s doing on the pitch today is amazing. He has a huge future in front of him.”
While Haaland earned much of the praise on Saturday, Reyna looked like a veteran player in the win. He completed 85% of his passes while winning 10 of his 17 individual duels. On the opening goal, Reyna had the chance to shoot, but instead laid off a clever pass for Haaland who made no mistake from close-range.
Reyna had previously been reduced to minutes off the bench since his first team debut in January, but proved to the Dortmund coaching staff what he’s capable of from the opening whistle on Saturday. He successfully completed four dribbles, won three fouls, and made six recoveries also in the match, putting in strong work all over the pitch.
With one match to go this Bundesliga season and second place clinched for Dortmund, Reyna could get the nod against Hoffenheim on June 27th after impressing in a tough test Saturday.
“It was my first start, which I was really happy with,” Reyna said. “It was a big three points to secure second place, so we’re all really happy.”
Reyna’s future at Dortmund will certainly depend on who is managing the club next season. Favre previously hinted at leaving Dortmund this summer, meaning a new manager could come in following the club’s runners-up finish. If anything, Saturday proved to both Dortmund players and coaching staff that Reyna has the ability to become a major player for the club heading into the future.