A lengthy interview with Marco Reus was published in Kicker on Monday. Thomas Hennecke and Marco Reus talk about BVB’s future, Tuchel’s plans, the positive effect of his contract extension and the hype around his person during the Asia tour. Here is the English translation.
Kicker: Mr. Reus, could it be, that you are reading the same headlines about yourself every summer?
Marco Reus: Which do you mean?
Kicker: Depending on the outlet, you have a very important – or the most important year of your career in front of you, with the Euro 2016 being the highlight.
Reus: You start every year from scratch. This time it’s different, because we have a new coach in Dortmund. Generally, every season is ultra-important. For me personally and for the team in any case.
Kicker: Do you even think about titles and big tournaments ahead of such a long season?
Reus: Honestly no. Above all, it’s important for me to lay good foundation preseason in order to be fit after my injury in summer 2014. The EURO isn’t on my mind yet, this will come automatically throughout the season.
Kicker: Then let’s talk about the present instead of the future. Has Borussia Dortmund completely recuperated from the disappointing last season?
Reus: Looks like it. Even though not everything will immediately work one hundred percent, we have put the last season behind us and learned a lot from it. Those negative experiences can also bring something positive and help us to take the next step.
Kicker: How exactly?
Reus: We’ve learned that our opponents won’t give us anything for free and that we always have to work hard on ourselves.
Kicker: Does this also regard yourself – after many setbacks and only 20 league games?
Reus: Only 20?
Kicker: Additionally, there are five cup matches and four Champions League games, but only 20 in the Bundesliga.
Reus: How long was I out? Twice for two months?
Kicker: After your torn ligament against Scotland you were out for six weeks and after you tore you ligament against SC Paderborn it took around eight weeks until your comeback. Did you put the lost final and the tiresome affair concerning your driver’s license behind you?
Reus: It was an extremely difficult time for me. I don’t love anything more than playing football. Being unable to support the boys and helplessly sitting on the stand wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I drew a line under the past season, as it was my first year of my career, when things didn’t along with my wishes. Currently I’m working very hard, so the next season will take a better course.
Kicker: On the 10th of February you extended your contract until 2019. What are you looking to achieve with Borussia Dortmund?
Reus: Since I’m in Dortmund, we’ve stood in a final at the end of every season. Sadly we’ve lost them all, which is something we have to make up for. Losing hurts every time and didn’t always feel just. Only for the cup match against VfL Wolfsburg we’ve to blame ourselves. And me personally, I’m very self critical about this match.
Kicker: Because of your wasted opportunity to score the 2-0?
Reus: Something like that can happen, but my overall performance was below my standards. What do I still achieve with BVB? Obviously a lot! In order to do that our new coach Thomas Tuchel already implemented several things. It will still take time until everything falls into place and until we have completely internalized his ideas. Yet, I’m optimistic that we will be on the level the coach wants us to be on the first match day.
Kicker: You will play Borussia Mönchengladbach on the first match day. There could have hardly been a more unpleasant opponent.
Reus: I find it superb. Not only, because it’s my ex-club, but also because Gladbach will immediately show us what our level is. There is no better start. I’m really looking forward to it. Now we should all try to be more focused on our season opener than last year, where we already trailed after 9 seconds against Leverkusen.
Kicker: Earlier this year the departures of Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gündogan were looming. Both stayed. Do you think, that you contract extension sent out a signal to your teammates?
Reus: Maybe. You always want to play together with the best. It’s sad when a key player leaves the club. But that everyone stayed and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang even extended his contract until 2020 last week is a nice signal. We still have an outstanding team. All we have to do now is to bring that quality on the pitch this season.
Kicker: For the first time since 2011 Borussia Dortmund lost none of their key-players. What does that mean for the club?
Reus: In principle: Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze or Robert Lewandowski – everyone wanted to realize his dreams elsewhere – which is completely legitimate, it also happens in different jobs.
Kicker: Sahin and Kagawa are back for a long time.
Reus: They realized, that they feel most comfortable in Dortmund. The same also applies to Mats, Ilkay or Auba. Having them by my side reaffirms my opinion that Borussia Dortmund belongs to the Champions League.
Kicker: With Sebastian Kehl quitting his career a great leading figure retired. Is BVB threatened by a lack of leadership?
Reus: (laughs) I don’t think so. We have so many experienced professionals within more than 200 league matches in our ranks, who also take responsibilities in their national teams. There is absolutely no need to worry about a lack of leadership. It’s important for me to take the next step in that regard. I want to be a role model for younger players, I want to help them on and off the pitch.
Kicker: You had three serious injuries in 2014. In June, September and November. Do you always fear the worst when you enter a tackle?
Reus: It’s completely normal to have a more cautious approach to tackling in training at first. The head is playing a big role in that, but you regain confidence after a while. If I had any doubts, I wouldn’t reach the level I was once on. I know, that I’ll get back there, but it’ll take more time and more consistency.
Kicker: A new era is now starting with Thomas Tuchel. Is it hard to adept to his new training methods and different strategy?
Reus: Not for me personally. I’ve already had a couple of coaches in my career and was always comfortable with various training methods. Tuchel brings in a lot of new, creative stuff. He really has his own style.
Kicker: What is his style?
Reus: He wants us to have more possession and to combine more.
Kicker: What about the idea of being in front of the opponent’s goal as quickly as possible?
Reus: This will remain a part of our philosophy: We want to have a lot more possession, but if we lose the ball, we want to win it back as quickly as possible. Fast paced transitions after turnovers will remain in our arsenal. We’ve internalized that in the past years.
Kicker: Tuchel fielded you as a false nine during friendlies. Is that something you could see happening in the long-term?
Reus: I know that role from my time in Gladbach and feel comfortable in it. But it doesn’t matter too much in which position I’m playing in. It’s more important, that we function as a team. Individual preferences are irrelevant.
Kicker: Your teammate and friend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang confidently set himself the mark of ‘at least 20 league goals’. How many goals do you want to score?
Reus: It’s not my style to make predictions ahead of the season. Obviously I’m hoping for a lot of goals and assist to build confidence and I’m planning to do better than last season (7 goals, 5 assists). But the success of the team is more important.
Kicker: You were nearly crushed by the love and compassion of the fans on your Asia tour. Did you know, that you are so popular in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore?
Reus: I wasn’t prepared at all, I was completely surprised. What happened at the airports, at the hotels and at the matches was pretty extreme. Wherever we went, there were hundreds of fans waiting. We realized quickly, that our club is very popular in Asia. And however big the crowd is: The people there are very polite.
Kicker: How do you explain being regarded as a world star in Asia, while people in Germany often allude to the fact, that you haven’t won a title yet.
Reus: Honestly, I don’t really waste any thoughts on my status. I don’t concern myself with being world star or not. I play this sport because I love it and not because I want to be regarded as a superstar. With the right performance, it will happen anyway.
Kicker: In Tokyo a street had to be closed because of an autograph session with Shinji Kagawa. In Singapore security had to shield you, after you returned from the toilet. At what point does the hype become annoying?
Reus: Everyone, who plays football professionally, knows that it’s part of the job. I don’t complain about it. On the contrary: Those are fans, who support the club and me with passion. If they see me as an idol, I appreciate that. Naturally there are sometimes moments, when you want to have privacy.
Kicker: The sales of the Reus jersey are off the charts in Asia. Is Shinji Kagawa secretly teaching you Japanese for future media- or sponsoring events?
Reus: Japanese is a brutally hard to learn language, even though Shinji’s interpreter Jumpei Yamamori claims that it can be done within two months. I’m sorry Shinji, you are a great guy and I like the people of your home country, but I’ll have to pass.