The Dutchman and the USMNT international enjoy a close relationship away from the pitch, but will be on opposite sides in the Europa League

Giovanni Reyna is set to face off against the man hes named after, with Rangers boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst revealing they share a “special bond” before his teams visit to Borussia Dortmund.

Rangers will face Dortmund at Westfalenstadion on Thursday night in the first leg of their round of 32 Europa League tie, which marks the first meeting between the two clubs since the same stage of the 1999-20 UEFA Cup.

Van Bronckhorst played in both legs of that tie over 20 years ago alongside Claudio Reyna, who named his son after the Dutchman in light of the close friendship they struck up during their time together at Ibrox.

The Rangers boss has known Gio Reyna all his life and he remains in regular contact with the United States international and the rest of his family to this day.

Van Bronckhorst is looking forward to a special reunion with Reyna in a competitive setting, as he told a pre-match conference when asked to explain their relationship: “I played with his father Claudio and I am good friends with the whole family actually for many years.

“Gio I know from the day he was born so I have a special relationship with him as a friend but also as a player.

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“He came to Holland to train with our youth academy at Feyenoord so he was in our house and we were trying to help him to be the player that he is now.

“We have always kept in contact and seen each other at least once a year. It is a special bond I have with the Reyna family and it will be special for both of us to play against each other.

“Hopefully it is a good game. The competitors that we are, we both want to win. It will be a very special moment.”

Dortmund boss Marco Rose thinks Reyna will be extra motivated to give a good performance against Rangers due to his bond with Van Bronckhorst.

Rose expects them both to be fully focused on their respective duties for their clubs over the two legs, with Reyna set to make his first European appearance of the season after five months out injured.

“I assume that Gio Reyna also wants to show his namesake, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, what he can do,” Rose told reporters. “For both of them, its first and foremost about being successful.

“Still, its cool that there is such a thing in football.”

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