Fifty-five minutes into Borussia Dortmund’s match against FC Augsburg, things weren’t looking great for BVB. Augsburg had already scored three times against a shaky BVB back line, and outside of a few scuffed shots from Marco Reus, Dortmund hadn’t created much on offense either.
Facing the prospect of another disappointing defeat to start the second half of the season, and with the more senior squad members looking flat, Favre decided to give the young guns a shot. Lucien Favre first substituted Erling Håland for Lukasz Piszczek, and then the young America, Gio Reyna, for Thorgan Hazard. Both moves paid off in dividends.
Erling Håland, Dortmund’s newest arrival, didn’t take long to make an impact. Only three minutes into his BVB career, the Norwegian youngster made a darting run off the Augsburg back line. Jadon Sancho expertly played a ball into him, and he wasted no time belting a shot past the keeper, off the post, and into the net. As if one goal weren’t enough, Håland went on to score not one but two more goals: the first a tap-in off a set-up from Thorgan Hazard, and a second finishing a brilliant run off a pass from Marco Reus. With these three goals, Håland became only the first BVB player since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score a hat trick on his BVB debut.
While Dortmund’s new striker undoubtedly stole the show with his hat trick, he wasn’t the only rookie who impressed. Gio Reyna made a brief appearance, his first with the the senior squad. In his seventeen minutes as a substitute, Gio even managed to grab a secondary assist, setting up Marco Reus for his own assist to Erling Håland. After the match, Lucien Favre had some positive words to say about both rookies:
”We also played with Gio Reyna. It was very good. The first time he played here, at 17, that’s good. A 17-year-old, a 19-year-old, I think that’s good,” said Lucien Favre, according to Sky Switzerland. Regarding Håland, Favre went on, saying “He immediately showed his strength, the runs to the depths. He moves well between the lines. That gives us another chance to play forward.”
Favre’s assessment is correct, and shows just how useful a player like Håland can be. During the first half, when BVB struggled to threaten Augsburg very much, they lacked a center forward who could try to challenge their center backs and force them to play on the back foot. Marco Reus was constantly forced to drop back, and he never had an outlet to move the ball forward to. With Håland’s directness, and Gio Reyna’s technical ability in midfield, Lucien Favre now has at his disposal two more attacking options to deploy during the rest of the season.