At 34, Marco Reus is now one of the Bundesliga's elder statesmen but as his recent winner against Wolfsburg proved, the Borussia Dortmund attacker is as important to the big-game cause as he ever was.
An instantly recognisable figure the sporting world over, Reus has built his glowing reputation on the back of some amazing displays, dizzying assists and gorgeous goals. His 116th strike in the Bundesliga for BVB on Saturday was more than the mere "tap-in" he modestly described his match winner as.
Expertly angling in Julian Brandt's centre helped BVB to break a tricky encounter against the visiting Wolves and kept the Black-and-Yellows unbeaten domestically and within two points of the division's top spots.
Indeed, with Die Schwarzgelben only slowly getting up to speed in the top flight this term, Reus's second goal of the campaign was worth its weight in gold. It also took the Dortmund native into third spot on the team's all-time Bundesliga goalscoring list behind Manfred Burgsmüller (135) and Michael Zorc (131).
Watch: Marco Reus settles tricky encounter against Wolfsburg
What's more, the former Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker broke the deadlock in a Bundesliga game for the 62nd time. He thus joins living legend Jupp Heynckes in fifth place on the list of players to have put their team 1-0 up.
"I had the feeling that 1-0 was in the air; it was a super cross [and] I only had to tap it in," Reus said following the Matchday 5 win at the weekend. "Even though we didn't have many chances to score, especially in the first half, we remained patient," the Germany international added. "It was only a matter of time before we made it 1-0."
Speaking in praise of Dortmund's experienced leaders, recent club signing Niclas Füllkrug said, "Mats Hummels and Marco Reus have delivered in the last two weeks. They have proven that they can still help a great, great deal."
With 368 Bundesliga games under his belt as well as 152 top-flight goals and over a century of assists, Reus has a vast back catalogue and is still as hungry as ever to add to his applause-worthy numbers.
He may have ceded the BVB captain's armband to Emre Can this term, but the two-time DFB Cup winner's presence to the team's cause is no less important for having done so. Reus wants to remain a pivotal part of a team that is still looking to get back to its attacking, free-flowing best following the disappointment of missing out on last year's Bundesliga title to Bayern Munich on the last day of the season.
"Today was a step forward," the one time Rot Weiss Ahlen youth said after the Wolfsburg game. "We first need these small steps; we have to [win] the duels and then the rest will come by itself. The last few weeks have been slightly turbulent for us and a great deal has been written," Reus continued. "When you play here, you are measured by victories. Poor performances and defeats are not welcome. We know that we have to work hard; the [flowing football] will follow in time."
Watch: the very best of Marco Reus
Reus's calm, assured words will no doubt work their way through a squad that has suffered some early-season blips in the form of unexpected draws this season. His winning goal at the weekend will help in spades too, particularly with Dortmund set to face one of the division's in-form teams in Hoffenheim this coming Friday. Captain or not, Reus's presence in the BVB revival remains vital.
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