Marco Reus has faced Bayer Leverkusen 20 times over the course of his Bundesliga career with Borussia Dortmund and Mönchengladbach, becoming a veteran of famous high-scoring encounters in which he’s notched 11 goals himself.
Talking to bundesliga.com ahead of Sunday’s Matchday 21 meeting at Signal Iduna Park, the BVB captain explains why these fixtures are always so exciting to watch, takes us down memory lane and also reveals an interesting nickname for the returning Gio Reyna…
Marco Reus: “Because both teams like playing offensively, I think. Also because both teams leave open spaces at the back as a result. For the fans, it is always a really nice game – at home or away. We would prefer to have less spectacle this time around but still come out with a win. In the end, we look forward to every three points we can take home and we hope to be able to do the same this weekend. It’s difficult to say. It’s a bit of both. The two teams both have a good offensive line, are eager to score goals. That tends to neglect the defence somewhat. We need to make sure to continue playing well up front but also to defend well. In the past week or two, we have had a good window in which to train for this. We did that. We will be very well prepared.”
bundesliga.com: What are your memories of the reverse fixture this season, when Dortmund went behind three times but still went on to win 4-3 at the BayArena?
Reus: “A wild joyride, I would say. We didn’t settle in the game well. It was a game that had ups and downs – a chaotic game. We made it difficult for ourselves because we lacked the ball possession in various situations. We had envisioned it differently but we kept coming back. We showed morale and were rewarded in the end. A win like that is also worth three points. Especially playing away, it’s all the more special having to come from behind. Like I said, we want to play differently this time, at home, in terms of conceding fewer goals.”
Watch: Dortmund edged a thriller in Leverkusen at the start of 2021/22
bundesliga.com: This time it’s second against third, both in terms of the table and for the teams with the most goals scored. What are you expecting?
Reus: “I think it’s going to be a very intense game with a lot of goalscoring opportunities. We need to be aware of the fact that we have to remain consistent over 90 minutes. We need to start well again and keep that up over 90 minutes. We need to be prepared to deal with the weapons at Leverkusen’s disposal. They have very good individual players, quick players. We need to be well prepared in terms of pressing against the ball and against counter-attacks. With the ball, we need to be target-oriented and clinical in terms of our goalscoring opportunities.”
bundesliga.com: We’d would like to show you a few scenes from previous games against Leverkusen. Do you remember them?
Scene 1: Matchday 6, 2018/19. Dortmund went 2-0 down to Leverkusen. You scored the goal to make it 2-2. Dortmund went on to win 4-2 and go top.
Reus: “A counter-attacking situation with Jadon Sancho together with me. I think it came from Roman [Bürki]. We had a lot of space to counter. Leverkusen were positioned really high up the field. We took full advantage of the situation. Jadon is known to enjoy playing a one-two. I think it was an incredible year for him as well. I really enjoyed playing in the same team as him. The goal was a good portrayal of us that season. I think we were behind 2-0 at the break. I remember noticing during the warm-up that we were not level with them. In the second half, we still managed to turn the game. I think it was Paco [Alcacer] with two incredible goals. It was a very intense game, however, we were very light-footed during that time. We were not fazed by being behind. Of course, it was frustrating and avoidable but we were able to come back that time as well. We scored three goals relatively quickly. I think we got a bit lucky in the second half not going 3-0 behind, to be fair, but we had very good quality.”
Watch: Highlights of Dortmund’s come-from-behind win in 2018
Scene 2: Matchday 31, 2017/18. You first missed a penalty then hit the crossbar but score two more goals in a 4-0 win.
Reus: “I don’t even want to comment on that. The penalty against Leverkusen? A year previously, at home? Who was our coach then? Peter Stöger? Yes. Was it not the defining game for Champions League qualification? Yes! It was after the derby. I missed the penalty. It happens. We move on. Beforehand, I scored a goal from an offside position. That was another really nice game. I think we won 4-0? I think Jadon played exceptionally. There was one situation where he received the ball from the left, took the ball on with the inside of his exterior part of his foot and passed it to Maximilian Philipp. It was a fun afternoon. It was very important for us because we found ourselves in a difficult spot during that season. We were very close to not being able to qualify for the Champions League. We managed it thanks to that game against direct rivals. It was a beautiful experience. Once with Mario [Götze]. He plays the ball in to me in the box. I round the goalkeeper and chip the ball in. I think the second was when Jadon crossed the ball in and I headed it in. Something that happens very rarely. Those are the kind of games you realise you are in a flow very quickly. That is what we usually say. It was one of those games where we were in flow, everything seemed to work. I wouldn’t complain if Sunday would go a similar way.”
Watch: Dortmund edged Leverkusen to Champions League qualification in 2017/18
bundesliga.com: A question about Gio Reyna, who looks set to finally return this weekend. How does he affect you in training? Did you miss him on the pitch? What does he offer the team when he is fit?
Reus: “Mr. Bean. That’s what we call him because he – how can I put this – likes to waddle about. I hope he will have a lot more to offer us. He has been out for a really long time. It will still take a couple of weeks until he is back to his best but he offers more opportunities in deep, variation in terms of tactics. We hope he stays healthy and can get fit quickly. With the run of midweek games coming up, we hope he can help us move forward.”
Watch: Reyna edging closer to a return
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