Borussia Dortmund are 20 points behind league-leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, and yet you can’t help but feel fascinated by the majestic side Jurgen Klopp has put together.
Moving on Shinji Kagawa last summer was a necessity, but replacing and bettering his production seemed unthinkable, especially as Dortmund are not considered one of Europe’s big spenders. But Marco Reus is currently one of the continent’s hottest names, and a player who deserves so much more recognition outside of Germany.
While Gareth Bale may be on a path to the Bernabeu, it really should be Dortmund’s forward Marco Reus that Real Madrid target. It’s not so much the need to replace Cristiano Ronaldo with a like-for-like, but rather the numbers he brings. With so much being said of Bale and his meteoric rise in world football, there isn’t too much dissimilar to what Reus is doing in Germany.
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The point about Bale going to Madrid is fine from Tottenham’s point of view when they imagine the transfer fee coming in, yet how does he fit in at Madrid? Does Bale really fit the bill?
Taking nothing away from the Welshman, but Reus – as well as Mario Gotze – look far more suited to the game Madrid are likely to adopt once Jose Mourinho moves on. The current style of play on display at the Bernabeu doesn’t hold true to the traditions of the club; the counter-attacking game is Mourinho all over. Instead, the team should, and are likely to play a game which relies heavily on the creative and possession-based players in the team and possibly on the transfer shortlist.
It’s nothing new that Mesut Ozil is the hub of Real Madrid: when the German plays badly or is out of the line-up, the rest of the team see their performances drop, regardless of whether Cristiano Ronaldo can make the difference.
At Dortmund, Reus is part of a front four which really do not have specific or designated roles. Gotze is a playmaker in his style, but very rarely do the Dortmund attacks look the same from game to game. Reus is as good a passer of the ball as he is at finishing, and his pace is something which can help soothe the potential loss of Ronaldo at Madrid.
The German forward chose Dortmund over Bayern last year largely due to the fact he wanted to return to his home and the club where he started his football journey. Being dismissed by the Dortmund youth team as too small should have deterred Reus from returning to Signal Iduna Park, but it says a great deal about the success story in the west of the country that Bayern were left stunned and empty-handed.
Reus has 23 goals in all competitions this season and 11 assists. Such is his intelligence and rate of success at linking up with others in the Dortmund attack that opposition defenders rarely know where the threat will come from. Yes, he is able to use his pace in a direct game, but Dortmund see a lot of the ball and Reus is one of the key players to help find a path to goal. As mentioned, the fluidity and ingenuity of Dortmund’s forwards means phases of play are rarely identical.
It was reported earlier in the month that Chelsea were on the hunt for Reus’ signature. The German plays on the left of the attack in Klopp’s side, as he did during his outstanding last season at Borussia Monchengladbach. But he is good enough to play as a natural striker, such is his quality and coolness in front of goal. With Lewandowski suspended for the visit of Frankfurt back in February, Reus took up much of the responsibility in attack and scored all three of Dortmund’s goals.
What does it say about the current Dortmund team when Reus isn’t the best player at the club? Perhaps much of the low-key attention outside of Germany is attributed to Mario Gotze and his reputation in Europe – currently the best young player on the continent. Many of the major clubs in the Premier League have been linked with Gotze, as well as both Barcelona and Real Madrid, while the uncertain future of Lewandowski is also likely to take some of the spotlight away from Reus.
But as of now, this is one of Europe’s finest and most exciting players. Reus has made the step up from Gladbach and already looks like a player with the experience of titles and European football under his belt. It would be wrong to totally dismiss what Gareth Bale is doing in England, but it would be extremely misguided to skim over the phenomenal season and continued rise of the Dortmund star.
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