Hamburg SV have snapped up one of Dutch football’s most exciting young prospects, signing Ludovit Reis on a four-year deal.
bundesliga.com looks at Hamburg's 21-year-old midfield maestro set to dominate the Bundesliga 2…
Position: Central midfield
Country: Netherlands (11 U21 caps)
Born in Haarlem, Netherlands - just outside Amsterdam - to Slovakian parents in June 2000, Reis began his serious footballing life with SV Hoofddorp just down the road from his hometown. After just two years with his most local team, Reis caught the eye of FC Groningen and joined the club in 2015. Two years in the youth ranks were enough for Reis to earn a professional contract at the club in 2017, aged just 17.
He made his professional debut in September of that year in the Dutch Cup, and earned his first appearance in the Eredivisie a month later. Reis quickly established himself in the first-team and played 16 times in the Dutch top division in his debut campaign.
Reis then stamped his place in the club’s senior squad with 29 league appearances during the 2018/19 season, all while being just 18. In fact, Groningen lost all four of the matches he missed during the season which established him as one of the brightest talents in his home country, and began representing the Netherlands U19 squad.
Potential suitors quickly lined-up for the central midfielder, but it was Spanish giants Barcelona who won the race for his signature. And after 22 appearances for Barcelona's B team last season, it was decided that Reis should go on loan for 2020/21, with Osnabrück and the Bundesliga 2 the perfect destination for him.
Learning the ropes in the Bundesliga 2
If the idea behind the loan move to Westphalia was for the young midfielder to learn from week-in-week-out action, the plan worked a treat. Despite being Osnabrück's third-youngest player, Reis began his Bundesliga 2 season with a run of 16 consecutive appearances before missing one match through injury. Before the season was out, Reis had featured in 27 Bundesliga 2 matches. He seemed to learn and grow as the season went on, notching his first goal and assist towards the end of the campaign. Despite his best efforts, however, Osnabrück had a season to forget and ended up in the relegation playoff position. In the two-legged tie with FC Ingolstadt, Osnabrück succumbed to a 4-3 aggregate defeat and were relegated to Bundesliga 3.
While Osnabrück were not among the high-flyers last year, other Bundesliga 2 clubs certainly took notice of the young man bossing their midfield. One of them was the northern giant Hamburg SV. Reis perhaps nailed his audition when HSV came to visit on the second-last matchday of the season. HSV looked to have come from behind and earn a draw late on, only for Reis to tee up Marc Heider to score the winner for Osnabrück just two minutes later. Clearly impressed by what the young man was capable of, and attracted by his undoubted potential, Hamburg signed the midfielder to a four-year contract to bolster their quest to return to Bundesliga 1.
It already looks like a wise decision: In the 2021/22 Bundesliga 2 season, Reis has already matched his efforts from last year, scoring an early opener on Matchday 2 against Dynamo Dresden and setting up a very late winner against SV Sandhausen on Matchday 6.
Plays a bit like: Xavi
Reis may only be 20, but the Dutchman can already do it all in midfield. Comfortable with bringing the ball out of defence, battling in the centre of the park or pushing forward into the final third to play passes into the box, Reis is happy operating throughout the pitch.
Standing at just 5'8", Reis has a low centre of gravity but uses it to his advantage. It's a tough task to take the ball from him with his in-game intelligence keeping him one step ahead of his opponents. Reis is all just as capable defensively himself as a tenacious interceptor of the ball and harrier when out of possession. It's no wonder Barcelona signed him with their eyes set on him taking the mantel of legendary midfielder Xavi.
Did you know?
It hasn't all been plain sailing for Reis. The midfielder became the youngest player ever in the Eredivisie to be sent off after receiving two yellow cards against Vitesse in November 2017. It was his fifth appearance for Groningen, aged just 17.
What they're saying
"Ludovit Reis can be used in all positions in midfield and thus gives our squad more flexibility. He has very good technical skills paired with excellent ball control." - Osnabrück sporting director Benjamin Schmedes.
"My position is a defensive midfielder, but I can play also offensive a little bit. I can play the two positions" - Reis himself
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