Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus has long been a figure of identification for the Black & Yellows since re-joining his boyhood club in 2012. The 32-year-old explains why the clash between Bayern and Dortmund is particularly important, Manuel Neuer’s qualities, and his take on 17-year-old Tom Rothe’s debut.
Why is the clash between Bayern and Dortmund particularly important on Saturday?
First of all, there are three points on the line, and it is a prestigious game. Dortmund against Bayern is always very interesting and, at the same time, we want to stop them taking the final step towards the title in their own stadium – we want to win the game! There are probably 100 other reasons why it is so important that we win the game.
The reverse fixture was spectacular. What was your experience of it?
Yeah, I think it was perhaps the best game this year, or maybe in recent years. It was incredibly intense, up and down, enjoyable for the fans in the stadium as well as those at home. The game went in the completely opposite direction to what it could have, it was totally open. As a player, you enjoy that kind of game, though we would have hoped for a better result.
Were you your own worst enemies in that game due to some silly mistakes?
Absolutely. In every Bundesliga game, but especially against Bayern, the result is decided on very small margins. We made one or two mistakes ourselves, then there was a bit of drama with the referee, these things are part and parcel of the game. We could have won the fixture but unfortunately, we didn’t manage it. Thankfully we have another chance on Saturday and want to do better.
What did you make of the win over Wolfsburg and Tom Rothe’s debut as well as the other debutants?
It was inevitable that we would be missing some players and it was a stroke of luck for the guys who got their chance. Tom played his first game and scored straight away. He found out the day before that he would play. I know from my own experience that when you’re thrown in there, you’re a bit nervous to play in front of over 80,000 fans at your home ground – but there are worse things it must be said! And I think he enjoyed it, he played well before and after the goal and he is a very good player.
What did Tom Rothe say in the dressing room afterwards?
I didn’t see him at all because I think he had about 100 interviews afterwards. He should enjoy it. Hopefully this is just the first of many games he will play for the club.
How is Gio Reyna?
Yeah, I’ve spoken to him a lot in the last few weeks, during his previous injury as well, trying to give him some encouragement. Some of these things are a part of football, some you can work on with more preventative measures, which he does. It’s really unfortunate and he is upset that the season has ended for him like this, but he has a strong mindset and is very young, so he will learn from it, come back, reach his former level and become an integral player for us.
How important is an exceptional player like Erling Haaland in such a battle against Bayern?
Naturally important, but regardless of Erling or me, we cannot do anything without the rest of the team. That is a key thing in Munich and in every match, we can only do it together and together we are stronger than we are as individuals, and nowhere is that truer than in Munich. We will rely on being in good form and making use of match-deciding situations.
Are statistics important to Erling Haaland?
I think they are important for every striker as it is what they are measured by. It is important to score for one’s own self-confidence, but he is always putting a good effort in during training, regardless of whether or not he scores in the previous week. We’re there to help him get back on track and I think the weekend helped regain a lot of self-confidence. I’ll be happy to see him continue in this way!
Manuel Neuer knows exactly who has scored most often against him. Do you also know who?
Yeah, it’s me. I have played against him very often and I am sure there have been many contests where I did not score. But when you play against him 20 times, you’re bound to score every now and then.
From the many qualities Manuel Neuer has, is there one you would highlight?
That’s difficult. I know him well from our time on the national team as well as the many games we have played against each other. I think he is very good at putting himself in the striker’s place, which helps a lot. He is a complete player and has been for years, which is why it is difficult to score against him, but we have done it often enough in the past and we hope to do so again on Saturday.
Otto Addo qualified for the World Cup with Ghana; did you follow it?
Yeah, we were celebrating for him that he finally made it after the journey they have been on. We were delighted for him because he is a fantastic guy, incredibly funny, has a big part to play with young players, doing video analysis and helping them. He is very experienced, I happily watched him earlier as well, flying around the pitch with his great pace. Talking to him is so much fun and he is an all-round great guy.
Soon you have a charity game for Ukraine, which will be a special day, right?
Yeah, without a doubt. We heard about this early on and were glad to do it. I hope a lot of fans will come and we hope to put on a proper match and give a bit of joy to the people there.”