He may be an unfamiliar name for many fans Europe-wide after breaking into the Borussia Dortmund first team this season, but news that Jacob Bruun Larsen is über-talented won't raise the eyebrows of any BVB fan.
Since he arrived with a 'wonderkid' tag firmly attached from Lyngby in January 2015, Bruun Larsen had always been expected to make the breakthrough. The only surprise is that he has had to wait until this season to do it...
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: Denmark U21 (11 caps)
There was just a six-minute cameo in the BVB first team on his CV before a stress fracture in his foot slowed his trajectory while last season's loan move to VfB Stuttgart brought very little time on the pitch - four appearances and only one start. The lesson he learned in Swabia has paid off, though, with Lucien Favre, whose faith in young talent was established over a decade ago at FC Zürich, living up to his reputation, and allowing Bruun Larsen — like Jadon Sancho — to thrive. His first Bundesliga goal on Matchday 5 was quickly followed by another in the defeat of Bayer Leverkusen, and capped by his maiden UEFA Champions League strike against Monaco. A two-time youth Bundesliga champion, the 6'0" Bruun Larsen also represented Denmark at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Watch: Bruun Larsen's delight at his first Bundesliga goal
Plays a bit like: Marco Reus
"From my first days here in Dortmund, I have looked a bit more at him, watched him, to see how he handles himself on the pitch," Bruun Larsen said of his captain, the man he can now look up and see alongside him in the first-team dressing room. The parallels are clear: pacy enough, but not lightning quick; good on the ball, but not outrageously gifted, with an eye for goal, making both highly effective all-rounders. The only thing Bruun Larsen — and Dortmund — will be hoping he doesn't mimic is Reus' desperate injury record.
Did you know?
Both born in 1998, Bruun Larsen's birthday is one day after Christian Pulisic's. The USA international's 20th birthday fell on the day of Dortmund's 2018/19 UEFA Champions League opener at Club Brugge, and Bruun Larsen was forced to improvise a present, popping a couple of bottles of Coca-Cola in the hotel room fridge for his teammate. "After a game, there's nothing better than an ice-cold Coke," said the Denmark Under-21 international.
What they're saying
"Of course, we have certain solutions that we train. But when you have such 'street footballers' like Jadon and Jacob, then it's really fun. We can be happy that we have such players right now." - Reus
"There are some really talented young guys coming through whom I could mention, but whom I won't train." former Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp when leaving BVB in 2015, citing the club's '98 generation, including Bruun Larsen and Pulisic
"He has the nose [for scoring opportunities]." - Favre, after seeing Bruun Larsen score his first Champions League goal