Dortmund - When it comes to irking FC Bayern Munich, Marco Reus has previous. After rejecting the Bavarians to rejoin his beloved Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2012, the twinkle-toed attacker has decided to rattle their cage once more.
Brushing aside Die Münchner's poaching of Mario Götze and their all-conquering 2012/13 season, the 24-year-old told German magazine kicker that his side have learned their lesson: “The 25-point difference [in the league] won't happen again."
Last season was, on a personal level, a successful one for Reus. He scored 14 Bundesliga goals, including one on his league debut for Dortmund against Werder Bremen, whilst providing nine assists. And like the rest of his team, he lit up the European stage as Borussia enjoyed a stunning run all the way to the Champions League final at Wembley.
Yet BVB won no silverware, and that after three trophies in the previous two years. However, Reus is adamant the side will be more competitive this time around. “We’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the mistakes we made in the Bundesliga last year. The new season begins for us on 10 August and we’re going on the attack again.”
There was very little to choose between the continent's top two sides in their head-to-head encounters last term, with both league games ending in draws, before the Reds edged a tight Champions League decider. Indeed, it was actually was against the league’s other sides that Reus & Co. struggled, dropping points against the likes of Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV.
“We have to do better against the other teams, we have to shut them out better. That has to be our goal”, believes the former Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker. The statistics back him up: Dortmund conceded 42 league goals in 2012/13, over twice as many as Bayern.
As well as the likely pace-setters from Bavaria, Reus believes life will be made more difficult by other rivals having strengthened their squads. “There are lots of strong teams in the division. Schalke have really added to their squad depth; Leverkusen lost Andre Schürrle but have got in some great replacements; and there’ll probably be another surprise club like SC Freiburg last season, or Gladbach the year before.”
It would appear Bayern remain the team to beat, but Reus insisted Dortmund can deal with losing Götze, a player dubbed by Franz Beckenbauer as the ‘German Messi’. “It won’t be easy to replace him but it does us no good to complain about it. We have so many good players in the squad to be able to deal with losing him.”
Two of those new arrivals - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos - have already been presented to the fans, while the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from FC Shakhtar Donetsk drew nearer on Monday (8 July) after the two clubs agreed terms on a transfer.