He's a world footballing star, an affable man off the pitch and a deadly exponent of the beautiful game on it. After 259 days out through the latest of his major injuries, Marco Reus has returned to action as if he was never away. In the first of a two-part exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Borussia Dortmund's German superstar talks injuries, comebacks, friends and the World Cup.
bundesliga.com: How are you feeling at the moment?
Marco Reus: “Relaxed. I'm pleased that I'm able to help the team and that I'm out on the pitch again. I’m happy that I can enjoy my football again.”
Watch: Marco Reus' exclusive interview with bundesliga.com!
bundesliga.com: How is it going for you at the moment in a sporting sense?
Reus: “As I said, I don’t measure myself on goals alone but also the way that I play – that I am making a difference in games, am involved in good passages of play. That is an important factor for me and I know that there is room for improvement there. Particularly in terms of minutes played because it's always difficult to play 90 minutes after such a long break with injury. I can deal with this though – it's not a problem. It gets better every week though as I get fitter and fitter. I'm very pleased.”
bundesliga.com: Can you remember the announcer shouting your name as you walked out to make your return against Hamburg?
Reus: “I wasn't aware of that, unfortunately. I saw a video of it afterwards. They did very well. My friends had a small heart attack that I had been injured during the warm up. Of course it's very nice to have those moments if you're making a return from a long-term injury. It’s a great feeling to be welcomed like that. For me personally it was more important that we won the match that day.”
bundesliga.com: How difficult is it to pace yourself in your comeback?
Reus: “It's a balancing act, certainly. I regularly have conversations with the manager about how to go about this. You have to be careful of course that there aren't any follow up injuries because the muscles behave slightly differently. I've played a lot of games in recent weeks so I just need to make sure I recover well and train well, too. I'm not that concerned at the moment considering how things are going. But it's important to be aware, yes.”
bundesliga.com: You once said you would trade all your money for health. Do you stand by that?
Reus: “To be honest, it was meant completely sincerely. When you pick up a serious injury as a footballer – and I mean long term injuries where you are out for six, seven, eight months or more, not just a three or four week hamstring tears – then that's simply the case. You want to play the sport that you have been playing for years and have enjoyed for years. It can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with the fact that you'll not be able to do that for six, seven, eight months. But injuries are part of football, you have to adjust and learn what the repercussions are. Your body changes as a result of this period. You see other perspectives and that has certainly shaped me as a person. I'm happy to be back now.”
Watch: Reus has scored against all 18 Bundesliga clubs!
bundesliga.com: Have the set backs shaped your personality?
Reus: “Yes. Not just to a small extent, but in a big way. When you're injured for such a long time, you reflect on what life has to offer as a whole. I know that it's not just football. There are more important issues out there. Particularly because you can only play until you are 35-years old and then you enter a new chapter of your life. I think it's very important that you don't start thinking about your life after football when you are 33 or 34. There are many more amazing things in this world and it's important to think about these things before you retire. It's difficult for every single player in my opinion because there is such a big hole to fill after you retire. The level of fame is no longer there and people are much less interested in you. That's actually a good thing because it allows you to do those things that you perhaps were not able to before. I think it's important to be thinking about your personal life and your family not just when you've retired but also during your career. Also to do those things that you want and can do now.”
Marco Reus: “It's going in the right direction. All three of us are very pleased that we're able to play on the same pitch again after such a long time. That's very important for us and for the team. They're both great guys and they show that out on the pitch too. I hope and believe that we'll keep improving in the coming weeks so that we can continue to help the team.”
bundesliga.com: Julian Weigl explained that you helped him over the summer with his injury?
Reus: “Definitely. When he first came to Dortmund we shared a room during the training camp. We got on very well from day one and still do now. His injury back then against Augsburg was very tough because it came in an important period of our season. He missed out on the DFB Cup final and winning the cup was in many ways in his honour. But I’m sure that if I told him that, he would say that it doesn’t make any difference to him and that he just wanted to be a part of it. So it was a real shame, and then a short time later I got injured too. But we spoke very regularly and met up because we're good friends. There was a period where we were both injured and so we met up in the evenings to play PlayStation, to talk and just to have some positive thoughts.”
bundesliga.com: How big is your desire to be a part of the World Cup squad this summer?
Reus: “Huge. I'll look forward to it when we get there. My excitement will grow more and more as we get closer and start playing international games. We will see what decisions the head coach makes. I'm very relaxed though. I will not miss out through injury.”
bundesliga.com: What is Germany coach Joachim Löw saying at the moment?
Reus: “We stay in regular contact of course, particularly because of my injury. We message each other and speak on the phone to discuss my progress and other matters. We're in close contact.”
bundesliga.com: What are your sporting aims for the coming months?
Reus: “That we achieve the goals we've set ourselves as a club. That we get direct qualification for the Champions League and get to the final of the Europa League. Those are our aims and we have the quality to achieve them. We know we'll have to work even harder but the stronger our opponents are, the better we will perform. And then hopefully the World Cup.”
Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of our interview with Marco Reus coming soon!