Borussia Dortmund's US star Gio Reyna says he has "high expectations" for the coming season, as he – together with compatriots Tyler Adams and Josh Sargent – looks to make his mark on the Bundesliga.
Reyna edged into earshot last season, appearing in 15 Bundesliga fixtures. Only two of those were as part of Lucien Favre's starting XI, however, but perhaps tellingly they were the two final fixtures of the season.
With that and the fact he both started and scored in the DFB Cup last weekend in mind, the 17-year-old is looking to kick on in 2020/21.
Watch: Gio Reyna ready to seize his chance at Borussia Dortmund
"Last season, I learned a lot," he told ESPN of his debut full campaign in Germany. "I came in as a sub and started a few games and I started doing well, so the club and the staff have high expectations for me this year.
"We have a a lot of quality guys going forward, but if I can keep on working I can slowly work my way into the team and try to help in any way possible."
The US youngster has arguably been BVB's biggest winner in pre-season, scoring four goals in the five games in which he has featured, and with Marco Reus still working on returning to 100 per cent, Favre is set to place his faith in Reyna at least for the early stages of the season.
If Reyna, who became the youngest American to appear in the UEFA Champions League last season, manages to hold down a first-team starting berth up until his first meeting with his compatriot Adams, he will most definitely have established his place on the team.
Dortmund don't face RB Leipzig until Matchday 15, on the second weekend of January, but when they do, Reyna could well come face to face with Adams at close quarters after the Leipzig No14 played in an unorthodox central defensive role - and earned the man-of-the-match honours - in the first round of the DFB Cup.
"It was definitely interesting, I don't know if it was an experiment, I guess we'll wait until the weekend to see where I'll play," Adams said, adding that he feels like the No6 position is where he feels most comfortable.
Experimentation may be the order of the day for the first few weeks of the season, with Leipzig still finding a way to adapt after losing Timo Werner to Chelsea this summer. "He's the type of player that you can't necessarily replace perfectly," Adams admitted. "The responsibility of the team is going to have to be taken up a notch. We will continue to play for each other; we have a team oriented style of play."
Bremen have no such issues up front, with Sargent proving in preseason that he is the man to score the goals that will ensure no repeat of last season's struggles, which concluded only after surviving a relegation playoff.
Watch: Josh Sargent settling into life at Werder Bremen
"We won all our [preseason] games, and I was scoring goals so I feel good, keep doing what I have been doing, and everything will fall into place," Sargent said.
The USMNT striker scored three goals in four pre-season games for Bremen, as well as setting them on their way to victory in the DFB Cup first round, and his partnership with on-loan Dutch winger Tahith Chong is going to be something to watch out for in the Bundesliga this season.
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