Just a few kilometres separate Signal Iduna Park from amateur club PTSV Dortmund’s home ground in the Stadtkrone-Ost area of the city. Summer 2018 - the grass on the pitch is freshly mown, a few dozen trophies are on display in the clubhouse - and Marco Reus is here to take a trip down memory lane. The BVB star, recently appointed club captain, is on a journey through his personal past. The return to his first-ever club brings vivid and happy memories flooding back. ''I’m happy about all the moments I was able to experience here,'' says Reus.
Marco Reus is the face of Borussia Dortmund; the club’s star man; a figure of identification for the fanbase; the man who wears the captain’s armband for the Black & Yellows. ''I will never forget where I come from and how hard I had to work to achieve my goals,’'' says the Dortmund-born star, who only left his hometown for spells in Ahlen (2006 to 2009) and Mönchengladbach. The prodigal son returned in 2012. And it seems like he’s here to stay. Reus and Borussia go together like Coca and Cola.
On 9 March 2018, as a Borussia Dortmund side led by Peter Stöger were battling for Champions League qualification (which they eventually achieved), Reus extended his contract until 30 June 2023. This despite the lure of other, more financially lucrative offers available elsewhere. The club captain chose not to follow the money, preferring to play his part in bringing the club back up to the top level. In his own words: ''It’s like in real life; things don’t always go how you would like. But even in those tough times, you have to stick to your values and your principles.'' When the new contract was announced, chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke commented: ''This player shows the utmost sense of identification with the club. We are extremely proud.'' For Reus, this is just something that comes naturally: ''I’ve been wearing the Borussia jersey since 2012. When I was a child, I always dreamed of running out in Black & Yellow and playing for the club. Dortmund is my home, and BVB are my club.''
Marco Reus was born and raised in Dortmund. Growing up, his hero was Tomas Rosicky: ''He played football exactly the way I wanted to. I used to wear a sweatband so that I could be like him. His movement on the pitch and his ability to pick out a teammate was a real inspiration to me. He was a really friendly guy. I would have loved to be able to play with him.''
Back in 2006, Marco Reus was part of the Borussia Dortmund U17 squad that made it to the final of the German Championship. However, the slight 16-year-old wasn’t a regular in the starting XI, and he decided to seek his fortune elsewhere. The attacker moved to Rot-Weiß Ahlen, where he turned out for the youth teams in the U19 Bundesliga before making the step-up to the first team - playing in the Regionalliga, the 3. Liga and then the Bundesliga 2. He nailed down a place in the starting line-up and became one of the top performers at the club. In the summer of 2009, the man dubbed “Reus the Rocket” by kicker magazine signed for Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he saw ''the best opportunity to develop in the long run.''
In the summer of 2012, some skillful maneuvering in the transfer market from BVB sporting director Michael Zorc was enough to convince the Germany international to return to his roots and sign for BVB. Zorc and the BVB management team faced fierce competition from some of Europe’s top clubs for the signature of the technically-gifted dribbler with a keen eye for goal.
When the young family man - his daughter was born in March 2019 - enters the opposing box at high speed, the ball seems to stick to his feet. His pace and impeccable technique are complemented by a sharp goalscoring instinct. The exceptionally speedy and agile attacker is capable of conjuring something from nothing at any moment to turn a game on its head. ''Marco makes every team better,'' says Michael Zorc, adding: ''He’s the man for the important moments and, above all, the important goals. He’s the cornerstone of our attacking play and one of the defining figures at the club.''
In the 2018/19 season, Reus was the difference maker for the Black & Yellows. At peak footballing age, the Germany international hit the best form of his life. After being voted ''Player of the Season'' by his fellow Bundesliga players, sporting journalists honoured him with the most prestigious individual prize in German football: ''Footballer of the Year.'' Reus joined Hans Tilkowski (1965), Matthias Sammer (1995 and 1996) and Jürgen Kohler (1997) as the fourth Borussia player to receive the award.
In his 279 appearances in the Bundesliga, Reus has been involved in 213 goals (127 scored, 86 assists). His record in a BVB jersey is even more impressive: 151 scorer points (91 goals, 60 assists) in 182 Bundesliga games as of the end of the 2018/19 season. Since moving back to his hometown in the summer of 2012, he’s scored 128 goals across all competitions and has given the Black & Yellows a 1-0 lead in 35 Bundesliga matches. He lifted the DFB Cup in 2017 as well as the Supercup in 2013, 2014 and 2019. Injuries meant he was only able to make 19 Bundesliga appearances last season, but he still managed to find the net 11 times, putting him third behind Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland in the club’s top scorer list. He also provided six assists. In his six most recent games, he notched up a total of 10 scorer points (five goals, five assists).