May 15, 2020 - Sports

Bundesliga returns with all-American battle

Data: ESPN; Note: The 6th place team only earns a spot in the Europa League qualifying round; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: ESPN; Note: The 6th place team only earns a spot in the Europa League qualifying round; Table: Axios Visuals

Germany's Bundesliga will resume play on Saturday, becoming the first major European soccer league to return to action.

The backdrop: There's still a lot of anxiety surrounding the proceedings. Second-division team Dynamo Dresden had to enter a two-week quarantine last weekend following a couple of positive tests.

The intrigue: The top four teams qualify for the Champions League, and with the top five teams currently separated by just eight points, there will be plenty of drama atop the standings.

New rule: Since players will likely not be in game shape, teams will be allowed five substitutes per match (up from three), with managers given three opportunities to use their allotment in an effort to reduce disruptions.

Player to watch: While 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has quickly become soccer's most-wanted teenager, I'd like to draw your attention to his teammate, 17-year-old American Giovanni Reyna.

  • You might know his father, Claudio, who won three straight national titles at Virginia, was part of four World Cup squads and is widely considered one of the best players the U.S. has ever produced.
  • Gio arrived at Dortmund last July, just a few months after fellow American wunderkind Christian Pulisic left to join Chelsea. Pulisic scored his first Dortmund goal at 17 years, 212 days old. Gio scored his at 17 years, 83 days old — and it was an absolute beauty.
"Visions abound of Reyna and Pulisic teaming up to lead the U.S. back to the World Cup in Qatar two years from now, and then really making their mark when the tournament is played on home soil in 2026. For an American soccer public still hoping for the sport to truly break through in the U.S., the possibilities are intoxicating."
— Sam Stejskal, The Athletic

Game of the weekend: Reyna and Borussia Dortmund face off against Schalke 04, which is one of their bitter rivals and features another young American in Weston McKennie.

  • TV: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET (FS1, Fox Deportes)

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