Borussia Dortmund icon, Marco Reus, finally made his World Cup debut for Germany on Sunday. Although the result wasn’t a positive one for the highly-touted Die Mannschaft, it would have been a special moment for the 29-year-old on a personal level.
Ravaged by injury
The winger’s career has been ravaged by injury. That doesn’t take away from his immense talents and capabilities, though. The one-time DFB-Pokal winner has an almost one-in-two goal ratio for Dortmund, scoring a mightily impressive 96 goals in 203 club appearances. For his country, he’s played 32 times, scoring nine goals.
In the build-up to Brazil 2014, Reus was instrumental. During qualifying, he scored five goals and also tacked on three assists for his teammates. Just weeks before the World Cup began, he picked up an injury that would eventually cost him his place in the squad. In 2016, an identical scenario played out. Dortmund’s #11 wasn’t selected due to a groin problem.
Somewhat ironically, 2017/18 garnered Reus’ lowest number of appearances in a season (15). This time, nothing was stopping the German flyer from taking his place aboard the plane to Russia. He even fought out stiff competition from Manchester City’s insanely gifted Leroy Sane, whom, as we all know, was left at home.
Reus offers what Germany lacked
With Germany losing their opening to Mexico, Reus could now be presented with his opportunity to start. Jogi Loew’s attack looked surprisingly stagnant with Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, and Timo Werner all struggling. They lacked pace and directness from the flanks, but there’s a certain blonde-haired, 5’11 lad who’d offer that in abundance.
Versatility is vital in modern-day football. Thankfully for Reus, there are three or four potential openings in this German side. Ask him to start as the striker? No problem. Play on the right? Consider it done. Start just in-behind the main front man? You got it. Everyone knows he’s at his most dangerous on the left-hand side though. That’s where Germany are at their weakest, that’s where I fully expect Reus to start on match-day two when they go head-to-head with an underrated Sweden side.
It’s not just Reus’ on-field ability that deserves credit. He’s a leader. A proud man who wears his heart on his sleeve. On more than one occasion he could have left his boyhood club (to join that little ol’ side from Bavaria). He rejected that career-path; a brave thing to do, particularly when trophies aplenty would have followed. Following retirements of Lucas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Philipp Lahm, that veteran presence is an underrated commodity.
Reus comes up big when it counts
Fearlessness. When I think about those incredible German sides gone by, that’s what I think of. You hear stories about how they’ve already booked their hotel for major tournament finals before the competition has even kicked off. It’s all based around not being scared when the lights are at their brightest. In the big moments, Reus comes to the fore. He’s cool, calm and collected. He has no problems with keeping his emotions in check. We all know how impeccable Germany are when it comes to spot-kicks, you just know Reus would stick his arm up in the air and offer to take the all-important one if required.
As the old saying goes, football is more than just a game. For Reus, representing his country is the pinnacle. I love a Cinderella story, and watching him succeed at the highest level of international football would be special. Germany haven’t started as efficiently as they usually would, but it’d still take a brave man to bet against them; particularly with the hungry Reus ready and raring to cement his legacy.