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Checking in on Reinier Jesus at Borussia Dortmund

Matt Wiltse provides the latest on the young Brazilian’s game and what can be gleaned from his early season cameos

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

I know what most reading this article are thinking, “Checking in? What is there to check in on?”. This has been true of most of Reinier Jesus’ time at Borussia Dortmund, but the Brazilian teenager has finally found a place within the rotation. Injuries to Erling Haaland and Gio Reyna have helped create the opening, but earlier this season Marco Rose even had Youssoufa Moukoko ahead of Reinier. The Brazilian was not getting off the bench. New signing, Donyell Malen, is starting with Haaland out injured, but it’s now Reinier who has been selected off the bench to replace the Dutchman and featuring in a center forward role. Reinier has played consecutively in Dortmund’s last three matches— the first time the teenager has had this type of opportunity with the German club.

“He’s a nine-and-a-half who can play as a false nine,” the former Dortmund coach, Lucien Favre, was quoted as saying upon Reinier Jesus’ arrival at the club. Marco Rose, the new Dortmund coach, views Reinier in the same way, as a false nine or a striker. His position starts by sitting on the center backs, but he is quick to drop deep and try to connect play. Reinier is a typical Brazilian — hungry for the ball and always looking to be in close association with his teammates using short and sharp touches.

Look how deep Reinier comes off the backline to connect play. Sometimes his desire to get on the ball can be detrimental, as it takes the team out of shape. Dortmund then lack a central focal point at the top of the pitch. Other times, it is effective in providing that “connective tissue” between midfield and attack. In the clips above, you can see the chemistry between Reinier and Reus. The Real Madrid loanee thrives in small spaces and enjoys a good link-up with other highly technical players. He is extremely proficient in a quick-one two, in order to transition his team on a blitzing attack.

It’s easy to forget that Reinier Jesus is just 19-years-old. No matter how his spell at Borussia Dortmund ends, it is far too early to draw any definitive conclusions on his Real Madrid future or his career in general. His objective now should be to continue accumulating minutes and seizing the opportunity from a more consistent role. His best position in top flight European football will likely be in an advanced center forward role with the freedom to drop off. A hybrid forward with certain qualities akin to a Karim Benzema profile. If Reinier can master the new position, the future will be bright.