The talented Mr. Reus ⋆ An Old International

The talented Mr. Reus

Marco Reus is a fantastic player. Unfortunately, injuries have stood in the way of him winning silverware. Tom Ripley is a fine human being with a dark side: he is deceptive and manipulative but gets away with it. While the former misses out on trophies, the latter never misses his chance to escape.

The fictional character of Tom Ripley is well known; he was created by Patricia Highsmith, the queen of suspense. The character features in five books, in which Ripley lives through all sorts of adventures and nightmares. Throughout the series, Ripley gets away with murder and identity theft, but he is never caught by the police: a smooth criminal. His death toll is significant as 14 people died, either killed by himself or through suicide or other people.

He is proud of his manners and dislikes people who behave otherwise. He is a hedonist and a connoisseur, and possesses a talent for deception and manipulation. His most significant achievement was getting away with murder. He comes close to being caught by the police and even confesses his crimes, but the circumstances always play in his favour, and he manages to escape.

In a somewhat warped adaptation of Mr Ripley’s fate, the career of the Dortmund player Marco Reus must be seen as a series of unfortunate events. His career has been beset by injuries, at the most unfortunate moments – he gets injured almost always mere weeks before major tournaments.

It is bordering on a travesty that Reus, who had his debut in 2011, has to date less than 50 matches for the German national team. Worse, he missed several major tournaments in which he could have played, namely the World Cup 2014, and the Euros 2016 due to injury, and he missed 2021 due to exhaustion.

Three years of injury

He has amassed a whopping 1135 days of absence due to injury, slicing off 131 games he could have played for Dortmund. For the national team the estimate is 25 games missed, most importantly the 2014 World Cup, the Euro two years after, which alone means 12 games he could not participate in. The abysmal World Cup in 2018, held in Russia, saw him play 3 matches – possibly the longest stretch of games in the national shirt Reus has played. The Euro 2021 missed on purpose as he felt exhausted following the seasons blighted by Corona and the games behind closed doors. It was an event in which Germany hardly excelled – just as they did the following year in Qatar, where Germany were eliminated again after just three matches. Reus was not nominated for the squad due to injury.

Missing out by one goal. ONE goal

The Bundesliga Season 2022/23 ended with Dortmund and their captain, Marco Reus, missing out on just another title – this time they were ONE goal short of winning the league. The Bundesliga has never been so close on the final match day as this season: Dortmund were one point ahead of Bayern before the last match; Bayern snatched the title by beating Cologne 2-1, while Dortmund could not score three goals that were needed to beat Mainz 05 (2-2). Both, Dortmund and Bayern finished level on points, but the Bavarians had scored 15 goals more. However, one goal more for Dortmund and those 15 goals would have been rendered irrelevant. Alas, it was not to be and the wait for a different German football champion continues.

It was in 2012 that Dortmund last lifted the championship trophy. It spurred Bayern and resulted in 11 consecutive league titles and 5 cups.

To date, Reus has won the DFB-Pokal twice with Dortmund (2017 against Frankfurt and 2021 vs. RB Leipzig). These are the only trophies Dortmund managed to win. Reus and his teammates came close to lifting the Champions League trophy in 2013 had not Arjen Robben scored a late goal (89. minute) to win the match for Bayern at Wembley.

In contrast to Mr Ripley, who rides his luck and gets away with murder, trophies appear to eschew the talented Mr Reus. He could have won a Champions League trophy in 2013, the World Cup a year later, and now he came agonizingly close to the German league title. The European and World Cup Reus Missed out due to injury. The league title was not lost due to injury he had suffered, but the inconsistent performances of Dortmund during the first half of the season and their nerves getting in the way on the final day.

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© image credits: Marco Reus by Moaad KARIM via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

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