The 2020-21 Bundesliga season gets underway this weekend, and several US men’s national team youngsters are again primed for key roles in Germany’s top flight.
While his first senior-team cap awaits, New York City FC academy product Giovanni Reyna figures to feature prominently for Borussia Dortmund. He mostly came off the bench in 2019-20, both in domestic and UEFA Champions League games, and will look to continue his upward trajectory.
“Last season I learned a lot and I came in as a sub, I started a few games towards the end of the season and I started doing well,” Reyna said on ESPN FC’s latest Banter episode. “But I think the club and myself and the staff and all the players have high expectations for myself this year. I started the first game of the season and we have a lot of quality guys going forward. But I think if I keep on working, I can slowly work my way into the team and just try to help in any way possible.”
Reyna scored in Dortmund’s DFB-Pokal first-round game this past Monday against MSV Duisburg (5-0 win), giving a glimpse into what lies ahead.
The cup competition also proved fruitful for former New York Red Bulls Homegrown Tyler Adams, who earned Man of the Match honors while playing at center back in a 3-0 victory for RB Leipzig over 1. FC Nürnberg. Traditionally a defensive midfielder, Adams has 10 USMNT caps as a 21-year-old who’s entering his second full season at Leipzig.
“I don’t know, it was definitely an interesting one,” Adams said of the new position. “Building out of the back, I was playing, like you said, in the middle of a three in the back kind of to draw their striker out and find space for our other midfielders. But then defensively I would play the 6 to help with the counter-pressing and winning the ball back, so it was definitely interesting. I don’t know if it was an experiment. I guess we’ll wait until the weekend to see what I play.”
Another USMNT angle comes through Werder Bremen striker Josh Sargent after they narrowly fought off relegation last year. The 20-year-old Sargent already has 12 USMNT caps and knows he’ll need to provide a greater on-field impact after last season’s struggles. He scored in Bremen's DFB-Pokal match last weekend, a 2-0 victory over Carl Zeiss Jena.
“The preseason went very well,” Sargent said. “We won all of our games and I was scoring goals, so I feel good right now. I just got to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing, just working hard and I think everything will fall in place.”
As the Bundesliga season gets underway, be sure to check out the entire Banter episode above. For more USMNT players, there’s Wolfsburg center back John Anthony Brooks and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie is on loan at Juventus. There's also US youth international center back Chris Richards coming through the ranks at Bayern Munich.