Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels was full of praise for his captain Marco Reus following the club’s dominant display in the UEFA Champions League against Barcelona.
The BVB skipper led from the front as the Bundesliga club carved out 14 chances against the Spanish champions. Reus’ four efforts alone were the most of any player on the opening night of this season’s Champions League, but also included a penalty that was saved by former Borussia Mönchengladbach teammate Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Hummels also impressed at the heart of the Dortmund defence exactly 1,644 days since his last Champions League game in black and yellow, captaining the side in the round of 16 second leg against Juventus in March 2015. Winning 100 per cent of his tackles, making seven clearances and one crucial block, the summer signing back from Bayern Munich kept a front line of Luis Suarez (who asked for Hummels’ shirt), Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati quiet.
Even with Lionel Messi coming off the bench for the final 30 minutes, Barcelona were limited to just one shot on target all game.
According to the 30-year-old, though, a part of nullifying what he calls “one of the best teams in the world” was also down to Reus and his efforts across the pitch.
“Marco does a lot of work for the team and makes moves that hurt opponents,” Hummels said after the game at the Signal Iduna Park.
“He gets stuck into challenges and wins the ball back. Marco led from the front but we also did a really good job as a team.
“Marco has come on leaps and bounds in the time I was away.”
Although Hummels described Messi as the best player there’s ever been, it was Reus who stole the show between these two giants of European football.
Watch: ALL 17 of Reus' Bundesliga goals in 2018/19
Reus’ superb form for club and country was also recently recognised as he was named Germany’s Footballer of the Year 2019. Although it was the second time he’s claimed the accolade – just one of 15 players to do so multiple times – it meant more for him this time.
“It’s tough to come back from a bad injury like I had in 2017 [a cruciate ligament rupture that sidelined him for almost a year] and become Footballer of the Year,” Reus stated. “That really makes me proud.”