BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund is not taking any chances with Gio Reyna.
The American midfielder was surprisingly left out of Dortmund’s squad for its 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday in the Bundesliga despite making his long-awaited return from injury the week before.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzić said the 19-year-old Reyna’s omission was purely a precautionary decision.
“He actually trained very well this week. We have a very specific program tailored to him, so we make sure that we gradually build him up. He just didn’t feel good anymore before the game,” Terzić said post-match. “And when he feels that, then there’s no point in risking the next setback.”
The previous Saturday, Reyna's first competitive appearance since April 8 was the last half hour of Dortmund’s 3-2 loss at home to Werder Bremen. He reinjured his right hamstring in April.
“Gio’s is a special situation,” Terzić said. “Gio has been struggling with injuries for almost a year now. He kept fighting back and was then quickly disappointed again when the injuries kept returning.”
Reyna, the son of former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna and women’s national team player Danielle Egan, was limited to just 10 league matches and 439 minutes for Dortmund last season, making only six starts.
He injured his right hamstring last September in the United States’ opening World Cup qualifier at El Salvador. He didn’t return to the field until Feb. 6, then hurt his leg in his third game back and was out until March 13.
After playing a full match for Dortmund against Cologne on March 20, Reyna reported back to the U.S. team and made three second-half appearances in World Cup qualifiers from March 24-30 for a total of 106 minutes.
He made only two appearances for the rest of the season for Dortmund, and one so far this season.
“We’ll continue to build him up carefully, in the hope that he’ll start training with us again next week,” Terzić said. “We just have to learn from the past. We had so much time with players out and it’s about reducing the injuries first, and also the time that the guys are injured. Better to go without for one or two games than risk going without someone for months.”
Dortmund is facing a busy schedule with five games in 16 days starting with Hoffenheim in the league on Sept. 2 before it hosts Copenhagen for its Champions League opening game on Sept. 6. Visits to Leipzig and Manchester City follow before the derby at Schalke on Sept. 17.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press