Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus has revealed how former coach Jürgen Klopp persuaded him to return to his boyhood club seven years ago, the difficulties he had understanding Mario Götze's 2013 transfer to Bayern Munich and why he turned down Barcelona.
He made his senior debut three years later, and soon caught the eye of Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he got his first taste of Bundesliga football during the 2009/10 campaign.
Watch: Marco Reus' Bundesliga Mixtape!
The nimble attacker went on to register 36 goals and 25 assists is his three seasons at the club, establishing himself as one of the most coveted players in German football.
In need of a replacement for Shinji Kagawa after the Japan midfielder's summer 2012 move to Manchester United, then Dortmund coach Klopp viewed Reus, who was later named German Player of the Season, as the ideal replacement - but getting his man wasn't straightforward.
"On the one hand, I was very happy at Gladbach," Reus recalled in an interview with DAZN. "We had a strong side and I really wanted some continuity. I felt that we could grow as a team and play European football in the seasons ahead, something which Gladbach hadn't managed for years.
"But on the other hand, chances to return to your hometown club don't come along often. I wrote down a list of pros and cons, and pretty quickly came to the decision that I wanted to move to BVB. It was a matter of the heart."
Reus produced 22 goals and 18 assists in 53 games for club and country in 2012/13, helping Klopp's heavy-metal ensemble reach the final of the UEFA Champions League, where they lost 2-1 to Bayern.
All told, he played 122 times in his three seasons under Klopp's tutelage, before the latter's decision to step down as coach at the end of 2014/15 following seven memorable years in charge.
Reus has since become Dortmund's captain and talisman, while Klopp is a Champions League winner with Liverpool - but the respect for his former mentor remains.
"Oh my god, Jürgen was such an animal!" exclaimed Reus. "If Jürgen sits in front of you with his aura, which he radiates even when speaking, with his stature, it's really quite impressive.
"He brings you under his spell and will not let you go. My heart was racing after we first spoke. He was definitely one of the reasons why I signed for Dortmund. Jürgen can develop players and make them better. He has a special way about him."
Emotions of a different kind came to the surface in April 2013 upon confirmation of teammate Mario Götze's impending transfer to Bayern.
The move was anathema to some, and even Reus admits he struggled to accept his best friend's decision to trade the Black-Yellows for their closest title rivals.
"I was at home, [the doorbell] rang and Mario was at my door. He told me personally that he will leave the club and take a different path," Reus recalled. "We had a good team that was well set for the years to come. And I felt we could play even better together, so it was difficult to take at that moment. I didn't know what to do or say.
"Was I angry? I don't want to say that, but of course you always want to play with the best players. When one of the best goes, it's difficult to understand. In the end, everyone is makes their own decisions. You only have one career. And if that was the right decision for him, then everybody must accept that."
Götze spent three seasons at Bayern, before returning to Dortmund in summer 2016.
Like Reus, he has experienced his fair share of physical setbacks in recent years, but the duo were up to their old tricks again last season as Dortmund went agonisingly close to a first Bundesliga title since 2012.
Reus tallied 21 goals and eight assists in 27 appearances, having played only 28 matches over the course of the previous two league campaigns due to a series of career-threatening injuries - while Götze had a direct hand in 14 goals in his 26 Bundesliga outings.
Despite falling two points short of Bayern last term and having only lifted one trophy (the 2016/17 DFB Cup) in his time as a BVB player, Reus says he does not for one minute regret staying with the club and is more determined than ever to bring silverware back to the Signal Iduna Park.
"Dortmund's my club," he said after revealing he turned down a summer 2015 move to Barcelona. "I really want to win the Bundesliga with this club. I want to win the DFB Cup again. I want to be in the Champions League final again.
"I have no regrets about staying. I belong at Borussia Dortmund."