USMNT star Giovanni Reyna will have to wait until at least Tuesday for his long-awaited return to the field for Borussia Dortmund, as head coach Marco Rose stated that he won’t participate in Friday’s game against Freiburg.
The 19 year-old attacker has been out of action for both club and country since suffering a leg injury in September, however had returned to training with his club team in late-November.
His eventual return to competitive action has been eagerly anticipated since he was first pictured on the training field, however Dortmund head coach Rose has played – and will continue to play – a cautious role in bringing Reyna back into the fold.
In today’s pre-game press conference ahead of their top-four clash against Freiburg in Bundesliga action on Friday night, Rose clearly confirmed “Reyna will not play a role this week,” putting an arrow into the hearts of any hopes of seeing the player suit up on Friday.
This will come as a bitter blow to American fans who are watching the clock tick down to the upcoming trio of World Cup qualifiers at the end of the month, with now only two more possibilities for Reyna to have any competitive action before the squad assembles.
Friday’s absence will shift the focus to Dortmund’s DFB Pokal game on Tuesday night against 2. Bundesliga team St. Pauli as the next hopeful opportunity for the American’s return. Rose has used the first two Cup games to hand playing time to a few lesser-used team members, and could take a similar tack against the current 2. Bundesliga leaders.
Tuesday’s Cup game will likely be the last for Dortmund before USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter makes his selections for European-based players who will be called into the upcoming camp. Most likely, the roster will be announced on or around January 20, before Dortmund visits Hoffenheim for their final game prior to the break.
This makes Friday’s omission more problematic since it’s doubtful that Rose will insert Reyna directly into a starting role on Tuesday against St. Pauli, if he is even selected to the game-day squad, which would force Berhalter to make a leap of faith about whether or not to include him based on at most a few minutes of on-field time.
Dortmund has done as well as can be expected even without their budding star for the last few months, currently leading the “best of the rest” race in the Bundesliga as the second-place team behind Bayern, with a six-point advantage over Hoffenheim. This likely removes any overt pressure on Rose in terms to re-integrate Reyna as a boost to team performance, as evidenced by the lengthening time between his return to training and eventual return to competitive games.