Having lost out on a first Bundesliga title since 2012 by just two points to Bayern Munich last season, Marco Reus and Borussia Dortmund had a long summer to heal their wounds. In 2019/20, there has been only one goal in mind: to win that elusive Meisterschale.
An inconsistent start to the season leaves Dortmund hovering around the Champions League places, but as Reus himself knows, no team has been consistent so far this season, meaning the title race is still wide open as we approach the winter break.
Speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com, BVB's boyhood hero and club captain talks about the campaign so far, how he has changed in his time in the Bundesliga and how Robert Lewandowski makes the league better...
bundesliga.com: Was the win against Hertha Berlin a particularly important one for the team after all the negative headlines in recent weeks?
Marco Reus: "Yes, of course. In good spells, as well as bad spells, it's important that we stand together as a team. That always has to stay the same no matter what happens. That doesn't mean that just because we won in Berlin that everything's ok. The work starts again and there are always new demands on us. That'll always be the case at Dortmund and that's good how it is. We're always judged on the performances which we've delivered in the past. We haven't been able to live up to those in recent weeks, but hopefully that's in the past now and there's no use looking back, we have to look forward. We have to think positively, we have to work to improve every single day and become a more cohesive unit and then I can have a positive outlook on the future."
bundesliga.com: Do you think the win against Hertha will be a turning point in your season?
Reus: "I hope so. In the past, we've had a few games or halves where we've shown that things can consistently go well over a long period. That'll become clear in the next few weeks. I think we have another four Bundesliga games and one Champions League game where we can put ourselves in a good position from which we can attack in the second half of the season. But only if we do that, otherwise there's no point. So, we need to get the best possible results from those games and that means winning every one. That's doable but only with the same attitude that we had against Hertha."
bundesliga.com: How do you view your season so far when you look at the current table, with Dortmund sitting in fifth place, one point behind Bayern?
Reus: "Of course, you can say that we've dropped a lot of points but you can say that about other teams as well. But with us, you can also say that a lot has been lacking in terms of our play. It's not how we want to play and it's not what we've been doing well, especially last year. But in fact, people are quick to say it's a crisis and a lot of journalists speculate and then put that on the team so that the crisis deepens. Then it's important that we stand together because everyone hears that and being at the forefront I have to act to support the team at certain times. We try to do that and we have to keep at it."
bundesliga.com: Do negative headlines around the team have an impact on you and the way you operate?
Reus: "No, not for me personally. I've seen and experienced far worse things, so that's an everyday part of the business and we have to deal with that. It always comes and goes. It doesn't bother me but it's important, for me personally as well as for the team, that we play better and we get into a flow which will do us all good. We have to work on that and then I can have a positive outlook on the future because we have a good team. We just have to work hard to get there."
Watch: Dortmund's win over Hertha on Matchday 13!
bundesliga.com: We're coming towards the end of the decade and it's been an eventful one in which you've featured heavily. What are your thoughts on the last 10 years in the Bundesliga?
Reus: "Yes, it's crazy. Of course, you notice a lot more things and you know how to deal with certain things better than perhaps nine or 10 years ago. Football has changed completely compared to 10 years ago. It's become a lot quicker, the players have progressed so much. Back then you didn't have 17, 18, 19-year-olds establishing themselves in the Bundesliga and becoming first-team regulars at a lot of clubs. Also, in the media things have changed, there's no longer this middle ground, it's either good or really bad and you either get a lot of criticism or a lot of praise. So, I think it's a bit of a shame but it's a high-performance sport and everyone has to get used to that and that's how it is. Then, there are situations to do with honesty which have changed. But I'm happy to have been part of these 10 years and I have another few years to go I think."
bundesliga.com: How have you changed personally in the last 10 years?
Reus: "Yes, physically and in terms of my appearance, a lot has changed but that's normal. You think that your haircut, for example, is really fashionable and then a few years later you see a picture of yourself and think 'what was I doing?'. I think that's true of everyone. But as I just said, I'm happy to have been part of these past 10 years and they've influenced me in certain ways. Everyone has had their own experiences, their highs and lows too. You get to know this business and you get to know how to behave and what's important and what's not. And it has been no different for me."
bundesliga.com: What would you say are your top three moments in the Bundesliga?
Reus: "It's hard to say my top three. As a young boy you dream of playing in the Bundesliga, so my first Bundesliga game is something I'll always remember. I'll always remember my first Bundesliga goal as well as the first game I started. The first moments when you smell the grass, when you experience the whole way of doing things, playing in the stadium. With Gladbach winning the relegation game which was really tough at the time. And then with Dortmund, there have been countless moments. Winning the cup, the Malaga game, so many moments. Above all at home, which were always so emotional and thrilling and had a big effect. These are moments which you should keep in mind because these are positive things and that's important in this world."
Watch: Marco Reus' Bundesliga Mixtape!
bundesliga.com: As you said, a lot has changed over the last decade for you, from your haircut to your way of playing...
Reus: "Yes, it's crazy and my goal celebrations have also changed I think. But they're emotions which come out and I think that's what makes football special when you're young. When you're more experienced, then you know how to deal with certain situations. When you're young, you're inexperienced and you do whatever comes to mind and I think every young player should keep doing that."
bundesliga.com: The last 10 years have also seen a rivalry form between Dortmund and Bayern Munich. What has that been like for you?
Reus: "Unfortunately, it's been more in Bayern's favour in the last 10 years, I have to say. They've frustrated us a lot. Other than when I wasn't here when we won the league twice, we've been close on two or three occasions but they have the advantage that they've had the consistency throughout the season, over a whole season they're very hard to beat. We, as well as other clubs, have to get that consistency. Of course, a part of that is to do with finances. It's not the same for every team, that's how it is. You have to set yourself ambitious goals. Before the season we said we wanted to be champions because we wanted that, it came from the team and we had that feeling, there was nothing else to say other than we want to be German champions. With this squad, you can't set yourself any other goal and it should always be the goal to get the best you can from a season and hopefully, the title will be the result. Above all, that should be the goal for Dortmund because when you see all the fans that support us every weekend at away games, that's really amazing. We just have to try to get more stability."
bundesliga.com: It's been an interesting start to the season at the top of the table so far in 2019/20...
Reus: "Of course, it's interesting. When you look at this season, you see that no clubs have achieved stability or consistency. I think Borussia Mönchengladbach are doing very well, RB Leipzig too, you have to say, but they've also had their setbacks. When you look at us or Bayern, you see that this consistency hasn't really been there but you're still four or five points behind the leaders. That shows that if we can get that back again, then it'll be Bayern or Dortmund. That's our goal and we want to do what we couldn't do last year."
bundesliga.com: Are you aware that you have scored the second-most goals in the Bundesliga in the last decade?
Reus: "Me? Really? That's good. First is Lewandowski. (Who is third?) Thomas Müller. I wouldn't have thought that I have to say. Because I don't really pay much attention to stats, I'm not really interested. But when you say that, I'm happy about it. Lewandowski is hard to catch. When you score 30 or 40 goals a season, it's hard to catch up. He has unbelievable stats, so hats off to him. And Thomas Müller, how old is he now? 30 too. He also has amazing stats. So hats off."
bundesliga.com: How do you think your old teammate Robert Lewandowski has been able to stay so consistent over the years?
Reus: "I think that's the professional attitude which he has every day. He started with this diet, I'm not sure if it was nutrition, his wife does a lot for that. You see that. Preventing injuries is an important issue for every player. Whether it's him or Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, they have very few injuries. I'm happy because he makes the Bundesliga better, a bit worse for us because he scores so many goals. But he's an unbelievably good striker. I think in the last few years you can't give him enough praise given what he has achieved for Bayern and for us back then. He's a good striker."
bundesliga.com: You yourself have played as a striker a few times in recent seasons, but it's not your favourite place to play?
Reus: "Yes, it's simply a different position for me. It always depends. When the coach says the No.9 should drop deeper and the wingers should play a bit higher, then you can achieve a numerical advantage in midfield. It was to be well coordinated. We haven't played that so often, so the typical No.9 is Robert Lewandowski, that's clear because he has the physical attributes for it, because he's played there for so many years and has the experience to stand where he should be standing at certain moments and this feeling for where the space is. When you haven't really played there, then you don't have this feeling. So, I'm not too worried about it. I've said it's not really my position, but as it is in a high-performance sport when the coach puts you there, you try to play your best and give your best performances if possible."
bundesliga.com: Do you have any special rituals you have to do before a game to get ready to play?
Reus: "Before games I often listen to music like a lot of other players. Firstly, it relaxes you and you can also concentrate on the game at the same time. You go through certain tactics in your head which might be important before the game."
bundesliga.com: Who would you say is your best friend in the BVB team?
bundesliga.com: What was the best moment of your life so far?
Reus: "My daughter's birth because it's the best feeling in the world which you can't describe. It makes you speechless."
bundesliga.com: What was the most difficult moment of your life so far?
Reus: "The most difficult? I think coming back from injuries with the belief that you can reach your old form or can play even better. And staying resilient in your mind."
Reus: "At the beginning a lot of people said 'oh no' and it's 'really bad'. Portugal, France and then the fourth or third opponent is not yet known. A lot of negativity, but I see it differently. I think we can look forward to playing in two big games. We're playing at home in Munich, we have the fans behind us and so we should take advantage of this atmosphere for us and our emotions. We're not in the position where we can say that we'll win easily. With home advantage and the dynamism with which we can perform in our team, a lot is possible. Of course, we want to get out of the group."
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