In the second installment of our exclusive interview with Borussia Dortmund and Germany footballing genius Marco Reus, the 28-year-old explains the importance of consistency, talks great goals and breaks down what makes rivals Bayern Munich tick.
Fresh from penning a new deal at Bundesliga giants BVB, Marco Reus has been enjoying a spectacular comeback from injury. Delighting fans of Die Schwarzgelben with some match-winning displays that have helped Peter Stöger's side remain in the hunt for a runners-up spot behind runaway leaders Bayern, the midfield schemer has nonetheless called for more as he eyes titles in the near future.
Watch: Our interview with one of the game's greats, Marco Reus!
Scoring three goals in as many games between Matchdays 23 and 25 certainly signalled a dramatic return to top-form following a knee injury for the player dreaming of a place in Joachim Löw's FIFA World Cup team. With Dortmund currently on an eleven-game unbeaten run, hopes are high among supporters of the Black and Yellows that an automatic Champions League spot can be sealed in the coming weeks. Yet Reus knows that, looking ahead, Dortmund need to be challenging for top spot.
"Every club, and ourselves included, are to blame for not consistently picking up points against the big teams," the Dortmund native said. “Continuity is the key word [but] it's difficult when there are injuries to important players and changes to the squad during the season. I think everyone in Germany wants the title race to be a bit more exciting.
"It's difficult when there are injuries to important players and changes to the squad during the season. Some clubs can’t compensate for that in the same way that Bayern can, for example. They are so strong in every position," Reus added.
With Jupp Heynckes's Bundesliga giants well on their way to a sixth-straight top flight title, Reus believes that Germany's most successful club have been schooling the rest in terms of their consistency, especially during the latter part of the campaign. "They are not playing incredibly well at the moment and they are scoring their goals in the important periods when winning matches," he noted.
"They have the individual quality and the squad to be able to rotate when they play sides that are lower down in the table. That is something they do very effectively and have done for many years. Dortmund were able to frustrate them in 2011 and 2012 and I think that was a source of motivation for them.
"If you look at it in simple terms, it is very difficult to beat Bayern over 34 matches if you take into account the money that they have available and the fact that many clubs have to complete on multiple fronts," Reus said.
In his first season with Dortmund back in 2012/13, Reus featured in five games against Bayern, none of which the then reigning Bundesliga champions managed to win. Since then, however, the North Rhine-Westphalia based team have enjoyed their fare share of success against the Bavarians with Reus on board.
"It is possible [to beat them], we know that and have showed that in the past," he explained. "But you simply have to get three points every Saturday or Sunday otherwise you know it will be difficult.
"If you lose one game, or go through a difficult period where you lose two or three, then Bayern will exploit that ruthlessly," he added. "You have to acknowledge that and accept it. We've done that but we will of course not give up. We'll try to beat Bayern every year, regardless of where we are in the table. It's a prestigious fixture and it is important psychologically."
Reus famously scored 36 Bundesliga goals in 97 German top-flight games for Borussia Mönchengladbach between 2009 and 2012 and he was on target against his former side in a 1-0 Dortmund win on 18 February. A wonder strike that was his sixth goal against the Foals, there were questions from some quarters as to whether the ball flew in as the midfielder had originally intended.
“I wanted to hit it as I did, but much further to the left," he explained. "But it was probably because of the ground that I hit it like I did and that it went in.”
Indeed, the Dortmund number eleven has developed a habit of netting brilliant goals against Gladbach and was asked if his second in a 2012 win against the team was his best ever in the Bundesliga, a superb shot across the bows of current Barcelona No.1 Ter Stegen.
Watch: Reus' wonder-strike features in his goals against every Bundesliga club!
"That was one of those where as soon as it left my foot I knew it was going in," he said. "There was a similar chance in Leipzig [this season ] where I wanted to do the same thing but the ball went about 80 metres over the goal! You know straight away that you have not connected well. But overall my focus is on helping the team and I always give my all to win the match. If I have chances to score, then it would be stupid not to use these and not to help my team.”
Reus's teammates don't care how he hits them or how they go in, once the Germany international is fighting fit and back on the pitch doing what he does best in Dortmund's remaining games is all that matters.