Borussia Dortmund fans have got used to seeing Marco Reus make impressive comebacks from injury - but even by his own high standards, the Germany midfielder has been on sensational form since returning from over eight months on the sidelines in February.

A few eyebrows were raised when Reus was thrown straight back in at the deep end on Matchday 22, taking his place in Peter Stöger's starting XI against Hamburg after 259 days out with a cruciate ligament tear. The 28-year-old came through unscathed, however, going off to rapturous applause on 71 minutes as BVB eased to a 2-0 win on home soil.

"He's been training normally with the team for a couple of weeks now," Stöger explained. "When a player of his quality is ready to play, I'd much rather have him on the pitch from the start. He's an exceptional player. He makes things happen and improves the players around him."

Before facing Hamburg, Reus hadn't played since the DFB Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt in May 2017. © gettyimages / Oliver Hardt / Bongarts

Reus may not have had a direct hand in Dortmund's goals against Hamburg and in the subsequent UEFA Europa League clash with Atalanta, but his mere presence at the Signal Iduna Park was enough to give his side a psychological boost and help them secure back-to-back home wins for the first time since September.

"The feeling on my comeback was hard to describe," Reus confided to Eurosport Germany. "Being back in the team for the match preparation, the hotel, the coach trip to the stadium - they were the things I'd missed the most. I'm very grateful to have them back again."

Remember, this is a player who has been involved in 101 goals for Dortmund in 129 Bundesliga outings, scoring 59 and setting up a further 42. With his resolutely attacking style and inimitable ability to split defences, Reus has had a significant impact on BVB's style of play in recent weeks, adding a dash of much-needed verticality to their game. He created more goalscoring chances than any other player in the Hamburg game - four - and slid the ball through for Christian Pulisic to set up Michy Batshuayi for the opener.

Watch: How Reus' return has helped to revitalise the Dortmund attack

Since then, Reus has simply gone from strength to strength. On Matchday 23, he continued his impressive streak against Borussia Mönchengladbach, thundering in a mind-boggling effort to make it six goals in nine games against his former side in a 1-0 victory at Borussia-Park. His first Bundesliga goal in 274 days also moved Dortmund back up to second place in the table.

"I actually wanted to shoot a bit differently, so the ball shouldn't have gone there," a grinning Reus confessed to Sky Deutschland after the final whistle. "It should have gone further to the left, more in the corner. But it's great that it went in like it did."

Stöger's men lost ground the following week as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg, but Reus was once again the standout performer. With 16 minutes on the clock, he launched a rapier-like counter from deep within his own half, and 10 seconds later he was sweeping a loose ball into the roof of the net, after Martin Hinteregger had deflected it into no man's land.

Watch: Andre Schürrle, Mario Götze and Reus are fit and firing for Dortmund

It was a similar story at the Red Bull Arena on Matchday 25. Though RB Leipzig got the opening goal this time, through Jean-Kevin Augustin, Reus hauled Dortmund level just nine minutes later, latching onto Mahmoud Dahoud's through ball and rounding Peter Gulacsi before sweeping in. As well as salvaging a point for his side, the Germany international carved himself out a piece of history, becoming just the third player after Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gomez to score against every current Bundesliga club.  

"Marco has scored in the last three games after eight months out, so it's great to have him back on the pitch, playing and staying fit," fellow BVB and Germany teammate Andre Schürrle told bundesliga.com after the 1-1 draw in Leipzig. "It's really good that he is here."

Stöger and Dortmund will now be praying that Reus can stay fit as they look to secure a top-four finish and a place in next season's UEFA Champions League - which they could also reach by winning this year's Europa League. They host Leipzig's sister club, Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, in the first leg of the Round of 16 on Thursday.

Reus has only made two appearances for Germany at a major tournament, during UEFA EURO 2012. © imago

Given his past heartbreak with the Germany national team, Reus is also desperate to earn himself a place in Joachim Löw's squad and travel to Russia this summer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, having missed the successful 2014 campaign and UEFA EURO 2016 through injury.  

"I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think about the World Cup and really want to be there," he admitted. "I keep it in the back of my head, because it's important to be focused, but I won't make a secret of the fact that it's a big goal of mine to be there. I know I've got a good chance if I'm playing well."

At 28, Reus is no longer the Wunderkind who burst onto the scene with Gladbach in 2010/11, and returned to boyhood club Dortmund the following season to be crowned Germany's Player of the Year. Yet despite his many injury woes, this once-in-a-generation talent has never lost his game-changing capabilities, and the most defining moments of his career could still lie ahead. Watch this space, because you haven't seen the last of BVB's comeback kid extraordinaire.

Andy Smith

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