Thomas Delaney (r.) believes that captain Marco Reus’ (l.) importance to Borussia Dortmund is the same as that of Lionel Messi to Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. - imago/DeFodi
Thomas Delaney (r.) believes that captain Marco Reus’ (l.) importance to Borussia Dortmund is the same as that of Lionel Messi to Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. - imago/DeFodi
bundesliga

Marco Reus is Borussia Dortmund’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – Thomas Delaney

Thomas Delaney has described teammate Marco Reus as Borussia Dortmund’s equivalent to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, highlighting how crucial the BVB captain is to their title push.

“You can’t replace him,” the Danish midfielder said to Eurosport. “When he’s in the side we have a clear path forward because we know he’s leading us.

“He isn’t the most talkative on the pitch but he leads us with how he plays in a technical and tactical sense,” the summer signing from Werder Bremen continued.

For Delaney, however, Reus’ importance to Borussia is therefore a double-edged sword. It means the captain’s absence is felt even more, saying that taking the Dortmund native out of the team is the same as Barcelona playing without Messi and Juventus without Ronaldo.

Watch: How Reus leads from the front

The way Reus leads the side is clearly borne out in the numbers: BVB average 2.4 points per game this Bundesliga campaign with their captain in the team, compared to just 1.7 without him. The same can be seen for goals scored, with Borussia hitting the back of the net 2.63 times per game with Reus featuring, but almost half that in his absence (1.33).

BVB’s external advisor, Eurosport pundit Matthias Sammer, has also expressed a similar opinion. “In Dortmund’s current structure, when they lose this type of player in attack then they have no replacement,” said Borussia’s 2001/02 Bundesliga-winning coach. “He’s also the captain and has progressed as a character like you never thought possible. That’s why he’s fundamentally important to this team.”

Wearing the armband with pride: Marco Reus is Borussia Dortmund‘s captain and leader. - Joosep Martinson/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

This impact has been laid bare in recent weeks with Dortmund suffering a mid-season wobble as Reus has been labouring with a hamstring injury. That blip has seen BVB eliminated from the DFB Cup by Delaney’s former club Bremen and their lead over Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table cut to three points with 11 games remaining.

Lucien Favre expects to have his influential captain back in some capacity when Dortmund head to Augsburg on Friday night to kick off Matchday 24. A returning Reus could certainly apply some early pressure on champions Bayern before they take on third-place Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.