The news broke late Wednesday night, and it was news likely to elicit a bored shrug rather than genuine surprise from the seasoned audience. Marco Reus tore a muscle fiber in his thigh with the German national soccer team.
In the past few years, this message has been received more frequently in different versions (ruptured syndesmosis ligament, ruptured cruciate ligament, adductor problems). So the so-called news value is possibly low, but the personal tragedy for Marco Reus is all the greater.
“Yes, of course you’re sorry,” says Oliver Bierhoff the day after. The manager of the German national team experienced the suffering of the Dortmunder almost from the beginning. Back then, when Dortmund’s Borussia was still a Borussia from Mönchengladbach.
Even his integration into the national team was difficult. In May 2010, at the end of his first season in the Bundesliga, Reus was called up to the national team for the first time. Because the regulars should take a breather just before the World Cup in South Africa, the national coach at the time, Joachim Löw, had mainly nominated prospective players for an international match against Malta.
But Reus was just as unwell as he was the next three times he was called up to the national team. A total of 17 months passed between his first contact with the national coach and his international debut in October 2011.
From the national team’s current squad for the two remaining Nations League games in Hungary (Saturday) and against Italy (Tuesday), only goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is older than Reus, who is now 33 years old. Only Neuer and Thomas Müller made their debuts for the DFB team before him. But while the two Munich players have long been in the three-digit number of international matches, Reus has just 48 appearances. Antonio Rüdiger (52) and Timo Werner (51) have now overtaken him, Leon Goretzka (43) and Leroy Sané (44) are about to.
The meager record belies the fact that Marco Reus was one of the outstanding German footballers of the past decade – and still is. In 340 Bundesliga games he has scored 144 goals and provided 104 assists. Of all the German players in the Bundesliga last season, Thomas Müller (29) alone had more assists than Reus (26).
“Everything seems so easy and so playful,” Joachim Löw once said about him. His successor Hansi Flick still considers him to be “one of the best in the last third”, and Oliver Bierhoff praises him as an exceptional footballer who can “help the team in a gallant way”.
But Marco Reus is also the country’s eternal unlucky fellow and his history in the national team is a history of missed opportunities: at the 2012 European Championship, although Germany’s footballer of the year, he only played in the quarter-finals. Reus made a strong game, scored a goal – and was still on the bench in the semi-final defeat against Italy.
At the 2014 World Cup, he was at home watching the Germans win the title after an Armenian defender tore his syndesmosis ribbon the night before they left for Brazil. In 2016 he got caught in the cup final, so he also missed the European Championship. And when Reus got fit just in time for the World Cup in Russia in 2018, Löw deliberately wanted to spare him for the important knockout games – as a potential difference player. Unfortunately, the Germans didn’t make it into the knockout games.
Reus has made five appearances at world and European championships after voluntarily not taking part in the European Championships last summer. At the time, many thought that that was probably the end of his career in the national team. But Marco Reus returned again under Hansi Flick. There’s one thing you definitely can’t blame him for: that he lacks perseverance and perseverance.