Borussia Dortmund have been making quite a splash this season with their youthful team and hugely talented youngsters like Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic. However, it’s the experienced Black-and-Yellow superstars that have been making the difference – as they did again in the crucial 2-1 win over Hoffenheim to move them into pole position for automatic Champions League qualification. The Reus Factor in particular has been a trump card for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Marco Reus proudly puffed out his chest, threw his arms up into the air celebrating, stood before Dortmund’s packed terraces and placed his hand to his ear to say: “Do you not want to celebrate a little louder?!” There were just four minutes on the clock against Hoffenheim when Reus slotted the ball under opposition goalkeeper Oliver Baumann to give the hosts the lead.
The Germany international has been a real goal-guarantee since his comeback from injury three weeks ago, scoring five times in his six competitive appearances. Reus is also Dortmund’s man for the big moments, and as he did again against TSG, he put die Schwarzgelben in front for the fourth time in that run of five goals.
He was the man to break the deadlock in the DFB Cup semi-final at Bayern Munich, and it is no accident, you would say, when you look back at the goalscoring record of Borussia’s No. 11. Well over one third of his 87 competitive goals for BVB have put his team 1-0 ahead.
Reus also came close to stretching his side’s lead to 2-0 against Hoffenheim not long after and extending his goalscoring run to six goals in his last six outings. However, he allowed strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to take the 14th-minute penalty. “We both felt good, but I wanted him to gain an advantage in the race for the Bundesliga Torjägerkanone,” explained the 27-year-old after the match.
The Gabon international failed to convert from the spot, but did later head home his 28th goal of the season shortly before the end. It didn’t just move Aubameyang level with Robert Lewandowski at the top of the goalscoring standings, but also underlined his value to this Borussia team. “As a striker, it’s important that you’re in the right place at the right time, and have the right amount of luck – he has that,” Reus said in praise of his teammate.
The two experienced attacking stars made the difference in the end amongst all of Dortmund’s youthful vigour. That is even more astonishing in Reus’ case because he has once again had to contend with bad injuries this season. First an inflammation of his pubic bone, then a torn muscle put him out of commission for a long period.
The match against Julian Nagelsmann’s team was just his 20th in all competitions this campaign, but his record still leaves you marvelling. An impressive eleven goals scored, as well as providing eight more assists – that is just from 20 matches, and alone displays how valuable Marco Reus is for Borussia Dortmund.
However, it’s not just his goal threat that his coach and teammates value most about him. Captain Marcel Schmelzer praised him as a “true leader on the pitch.” And coach Thomas Tuchel waxed lyrical about Reus when he said, “He makes all players around him better.”
Watch: Reus discusses the importance of the win over Hoffenheim:
Marco Reus has taken on a more mature role in 2017, assuming responsibility both on and off the pitch, providing impetus, is constantly around to help and provide direction internally as well as be the face of the team in public. When the tricky and pacey technician pairs his attacking abilities on the pitch with making challenges, like he did against TSG (64% won), then he becomes the X factor for Borussia. “We did not bottle it,” praised Reus, who was a leading example for his teammates during the game.
There are two matches remaining this Bundesliga season for the Dortmund vice-captain as the Black-Yellows look to defend their position in an automatic Champions League place. “If we get four more points, then we’re third. That’s what we want!” There is then the DFB Cup final in Berlin at the end of May against Eintracht Frankfurt, where Reus will no doubt want to once again score that all-important opening goal and lead his team to victory. It would be his first piece of silverware during his five-year spell with Borussia.