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Who are some of Dortmund's young talents?

Dortmund's young stars: Who are they, and what can fans expect this season

September 30, 2020 By Michelle Bonsu
As die Schwarzgelben prepare to lock horns with Bayern in the first Klassiker clash of the season, we take a look at some of the young talents featuring in Dortmund's starting XI.

About a fortnight ago (on September 14th), Borussia Dortmund traveled to face minnows Duisburg in their first DFB-Pokal match of the season. As expected, the hosts were no match for their superior visitors, and Lucien Favre's men cruised to a very comfortable 5-0 victory without much fuss.

What made this match notable was the players who were on the score-sheet. Save for skipper Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard, all of the other goal-scorers on the night were under 21 years old. That includes Jadon Sancho, Gio Reyna, and Dortmund's newest acquisition, Jude Bellingham. Of course, some will downplay this achievement and state that Duisburg, who feature in the 3.Liga, are no comparison to Dortmund's competitors in the Bundesliga. Nonetheless, that victory gave fans and neutral observers a good glimpse of what exciting things await for Favre's ambitious side.

Let's have a look at some of Dortmund's young stars, and what we can expect of them as die Schwarzgelben look to mount a serious challenge for some silverware this term.

Jadon Sancho

Age: 20

Claim to fame: In October 2018, he became the first player born in the 2000s to score twice in the Bundesliga when his brace salvaged a draw for Dortmund against Hertha Berlin. He then followed that up by becoming the first player born in the 2000s to net in the Champions League for die Schwarzgelben by netting his first goal against Atletico Madrid.

During his debut campaign at Signal Iduna Park, Sancho proved himself to be a breakout star. Not only did he become the youngest ever Dortmund player to score at least 10 goals in one season, but his 12 goals and 14 assists were enough to earn him, at just 19, a coveted spot in the 2018/2019 Bundesliga team of the season.

Last season, Sancho's 17 goals were only bettered by Timo Werner's 28 and Robert Lewandowski's 34, but what made the 20 year-old stand out was his 16 assists. Only experienced attacker Thomas Müller provided more assists (21). Furthermore, his 17 goals and 16 assists meant that Sancho was directly involved in 33 of his team's 84 Bundesliga goals last term, which puts him only behind Timo Werner, who was involved in 36 of Leipzig's 66 goals (28 goals, 8 assists).

Notably, Sancho made huge waves in Dortmund's recent 5-0 demolition of lower-tier side Duisburg in the DFB-Pokal. Not only did he score, but also provided an assist on what was his 100th competitive appearance for his current club. In addition, fellow English youngster Jude Bellingham was also on the score-sheet - marking the first time two English internationals have scored for die Schwarzgelben in the same match.

Jude Bellingham

Age: 17

Claim to fame: In 2019, he became both the youngest ever starter (16 years, 38 days) and goal-scorer (16 years, 63 days) for Birmingham City.

As such, many top clubs began to take notice, including Manchester United in his native England. However, Bellingham, encouraged by Dortmund's promising and youthful line-up - including fellow England international Sancho - decided to move to Signal Iduna Park. The reported £25 million plus add-ons that die Schwarzgelben paid for him makes him the most expensive 17-year-old in history, which, obviously, would put a lot of pressure on any young player - especially one playing top tier football for the first time. That being said, Bellingham has not allowed the burden of this price tag to hinder him - as he has already broken a club record by becoming Dortmund's youngest ever goal-scorer.

On Wednesday as Dortmund takes on Bayern in the DFL-Super Cup, Bellingham has the potential to break three more records: youngest player, youngest goal-scorer, and youngest winner. These records are presently held by Gianluca Gaudino, who plays for Swiss side Young Boys, Chelsea's Christian Pulisic, and PSG's Julian Draxler.

Giovanni "Gio" Reyna

Age: 17

Claim to fame: In January 2020, he became the youngest ever American to feature for Borussia Dortmund (17 years, 66 days) which beat a record previously set by Christian Pulisic.

Reyna would go on to score his first professional goal on February 4th, and while it was not enough to prevent die Schwarzgelben from being dumped out of the DFB-Pokal in the round of 16, he became the youngest ever goal-scorer in the competition's history. This record, however, could be broken by his current teammate Bellingham if he scores against Dortmund in the upcoming DFL-Super Cup clash.

Reyna, as USMNT fans are quite aware, is the son of former Stars and Stripes skipper Claudio Reyna. However, some may not know that his mother, Danielle Egan Reyna, also played for the USA national team, making six appearances for the USWNT in 1993 and scoring one goal.

With both parents having played the sport at the top level, then it's no surprise the 17-year-old has easily taken to football like a duck to water: it's in his genes!

Erling Haaland

Age: 20

Claim to fame: His nine goals against a floundering Honduras side during Norway's 12-0 humiliation of the Central American side set a new record at the 2019 U-20 World Cup.

Many outside Norway hadn't heard of Erling Haaland, save for those, perhaps, who follow the Austrian Bundesliga. However, at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, he announced his presence to the world with a stunning one-man show against Honduras, and has not looked back since.

Keen on showing that this wasn't just a fluke against a much weaker side, Haaland continued his impressive form once he returned to Red Bull Salzburg, namely in the 2019/2020 Champions League. Over the course of Salzburg's group stage campaign, he set new records, including become the first ever teenager to score in five consecutive games, and joined notable talents like Lewandowski, retired Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar.

This earned him a move to Dortmund midway through the season, where he netted an impressive 13 league goals in just 15 appearances, which was enough to ensure he finished inside the top ten players in terms of goals scored. Certainly, with that kind of output, one can only wonder how he would have done had he played a full season at Signal Iduna Park.  And just to prove that he's no one hit wonder, Haaland has already opened his account this season, with two goals so far to his name.

DID YOU KNOW: Both Reyna and Haaland were born in England, thus making this quartet all natives of England; however, Haaland, as noted, plays his international football for Norway while Reyna is part of the USA youth set-up.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Age: 16

Claim to fame: He's still waiting to make his top-flight debut, but he featured for the Manchester City under-18 squad twice during the 2019/2020 season (at the age of 15!), and grabbed an assist.

Born in 2004, Bynoe-Gittens only just celebrated his 16th birthday, but Dortmund was impressed enough with his performances for Manchester City's youth sides that they decided to snap him up. Like Sancho, he never featured for the senior squad under Pep Guardiola, and could potentially feature at some point for Dortmund's first team this season.

So as Dortmund prepare to take on familiar foes Bayern in a repeat of the 2019 DFL-Super Cup, will we see Bellingham break several records? Which of these young stars will have an impact as these two sides lock horns for the eighth time in the DFL-Super Cup?

Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain: The future looks quite bright for Dortmund and their loyal fans with this crop of young rising stars in their ranks.



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