Cologne - Despite suffering a number of serious injuries this season, Marco Reus has once again proved beyond any doubt how much he identifies with Borussia Dortmund.
With four goals in his last four games in all competitions and having recently signed a contract extension that ties him to Borussia until 2019, Reus continues to carry Borussia's fortunes on his shoulders, two and a half years after his triumphant return to his beloved hometown club.
As part of our Interview of the Week series, bundesliga.com talks exclusively to the Germany international and discovers the reasons why he stayed true to his roots, his expectations for the rest of the season and why the Revierderby against local rivals FC Schalke 04 is "in his blood".
Marco Reus on…
…the apparent speculation about his future
It was like that for over a year. There was a lot of speculation, a lot was said and even more was written about what I would and wouldn’t do. Honestly it never interested me because I just concentrated on myself. Obviously it was a long decision; otherwise I wouldn’t have taken so long to think it over. But at the end of the day it was and still is important for me just to know that I’m happy. That was the be all and end all. That’s simply the thing that concerns me most, and it was for that reason that I chose BVB.
…Borussia has a reputation as a club that is hard to leave behind
Yes. You hear from different people that it’s basically like a type of family, that the environment is just ideal. I feel really happy among the team and the coaching staff. We do a lot of things together privately away from the training ground, and that’s really important for me. My family lives here, my friends live here. Everything I’m used to is right here and again that’s really important for me. It’s also worth a lot to me in my life. Life beyond football does exist, after all.
…the boost it gave Dortmund when he signed his new contract
Yes in that situation, of course [it did]. It was a really great week for all of us. We won two matches and I signed my contract extension. For me personally, it was obviously just a great feeling to have the crowd singing my name, to help the team with a goal, and I think neither myself nor the rest of the team would complain if things stayed that way.
…what the club can achieve this season and beyond
We have lots of goals and we can still achieve a lot together. We’ve made great strides in the last few games, which we wanted to do. Since the beginning of the
Rückrunde, with the exception of the game against Augsburg and to an extent Leverkusen, we’ve progressed in every game. We trained a lot at our mid-season training camp in great conditions, and something like this just takes time. We also still have the DFB Cup to think about with another three or four very extremely difficult matches. The first half of the season was basically a disaster for us and enough has been said about it. It’s not about ironing out the creases in the season so far or salvaging what can still be salvaged; what we have to do is just extract the maximum from every game we can, and we’re ready for that. We’ve already taken the first few steps and now we need to carry that on.
…how much he is relishing the upcoming Revierderby with FC Schalke 04
It’s obviously a derby that you look forward to, especially if you’re playing at home - although it’s also great to win away from home as well, when the whole stadium is clad in blue and white and you see the black and yellow, it gives you a buzz. Playing at home we obviously want to win the game. It definitely won’t be easy, that’s for sure. Schalke have looked very solid recently. They have a very defensive style, where the backline defends high up the pitch when they have the ball. We’ll have to really do our homework on them and prepare for them, and although our chances are good, I’d say it’s still 50-50 at the moment as to who’ll come out on top.
…what the derby means to the Ruhr region
It’s basically in your blood. Against Schalke you know that you just have to run and fight until you drop and you simply can’t lose. That’s been clear to me for years now and I go about this game accordingly. As a team, we know that as well. The derby just means so much to the fans and for the area here. It’s obvious really, but we just have to give it everything we have and win the game.
…Dortmund’s recent improvement
I think it shows how strong the club is - and the way in which we go about dealing with one another - that after a situation like this, nobody goes around mistakenly making statements that aren’t true or appropriate. With things like this you just have to stick to the facts and analyse everything, which we did. We were obviously all in agreement that we could continue our co-operation, that we needed to make some improvements. Not everything was bad in the first half of the season, but those elementary things that we were missing, we’ve rediscovered them in the last few games and that’s how fast things can change. So much of it is in your head, and the wins we’ve had have really given us a lot of self-belief.
Interview by Klaus Fiedler