Borussia Dortmund, Clubs, Giovanni Reyna, Story, UEFA Champions League, United States

The ESPN FC panel were in awe over Erling Haaland’s ability he displayed vs. PSG.

DORTMUND, Germany — Gio Reyna said making his Champions League debut on Tuesday for Borussia Dortmund against Paris Saint-Germain was a “dream come true” after becoming the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 days.

Reyna was promoted to the Dortmund senior squad in January after only having joined the club’s academy in the summer of 2019 and has since gained game time in every match. A member of the U.S. squad at last year’s Under-17 World Cup, Reyna made his senior team debut for Dortmund on Jan. 18 in a Bundesliga match at Augsburg. 

Reyna had already scored in Dortmund’s German Cup defeat at Werder Bremen earlier this month, but was instrumental for his side on Tuesday as he set up Erling Haaland‘s second goal in a 2-1 first-leg win over PSG.

At 17 years, 3 months. 5 days, Reyna bettered the mark for youngest American set by Gedion Zelalem when he played for Arsenal at 17 years, 317 days old. Chelsea star Christian Pulisic was four days shy of his 18th birthday when he made his Champions League debut while with Dortmund in a group phase opener at Legia Warsaw in 2016. Pulisic started and assisted on Dortmund’s fifth goal in a 6-0 win.

His father, USMNT great Claudio Reyna, appeared in eight Champions League group phase matches for Glasgow Rangers in 1999 and 2000 and also scored a key goal in a Champions League qualifier in 1999 against UEFA Cup champion Parma. Claudio scored eight goals in 112 appearances for the U.S. from 1994 to 2006, appearing in three World Cups. Gio Reyna’s mother, Danielle Egan Reyna, scored one goal in six appearances for the U.S. women’s side in 2003.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s match, Gio Reyna said he was proud the team got such an important victory and of his assist to Haaland for the winner, only two minutes after Neymar levelled the score.

“A lot of emotions are going through my head right now,” he said. “To get my Champions League debut against Paris was a dream come true for me. To get an assist was even better.

“We knew Paris are such a good team. And the result is the most important thing. The way we fought as a team was so impressive,” he said. “Our work ethic and our will to win games really showed tonight.”

Haaland has more UCL goals this season than Barca

“It’s a super pass from Reyna,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said of the ball that set up Haaland’s goal. “He plays it in brilliantly. He orients the ball very, very quickly.

Dortmund will travel to Paris for the return leg in three weeks and Reyna said he was confident BVB could progress to next round if they maintained their form.

Over the winter, Dortmund promoted Reyna to the senior squad and also replaced Julian Weigl and Paco Alcacer with Juventus midfielder Emre Can and Haaland.

But Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc, responsible for the club’s reinforcements, said the win against PSG was not down to the winter signings but rather to an overall “outstanding” team performance.

Zorc said: “[Can and Haaland] played a top match, no doubt about that. And Erling scored a brace. But tonight we should not single out a player. It was an overall outstanding performance.”

Haaland, meanwhile, became the first ever Borussia Dortmund player to score a goal with his first shot on target in Champions League, Bundesliga and the German Cup. He now has 11 goals in just seven appearances for the Black and Yellows.

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