Talent Scout: Marco Reus
Saturday 12 November 2011
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Götze, Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer, Bayern Munich's Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber, plus Bayer Leverkusen duo André Schürrle and Lars Bender - there's no shortage of exciting German talent at the disposal of the Bundesliga's biggest names.
But as national team coach Joachim Low continued the task of blending them all into his new-look side this week, all the attention was on a player currently plying his trade not for one of Germany's Champions League powerhouses, but down-on-their-luck former five time league winners Borussia Mönchengladbach, who scraped a 16th placed finished last term.
He's Marco Reus, branded 'Rolls Reus' by the German media, and a mercurial prospect already being head hunted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, after a meteoric rise through the ranks.
Reus began his career at home town outfit Borussia Dortmund, but at the age of 17, he was forced to move to third division side Rot Weiss Ahlen, starting initially in their second string side. The deal came over doubts about his physical ability and temperament, but he quashed those suggestions by quickly being called up to the first-team, where he would help fire them to promotion, including bagging a strike on the last day of the season to seal their place in the next tier.
It's something Reus would get into the habit of. A switch to Mönchengladbach followed, and after a break through season, he scored another vital last day of the campaign goal, this time against against Bochum, in the relegation play-offs to preserve his sides Bundesliga status. A transfer to Bayern Munich looked inevitable in June, but he stayed, and boasts an impressive seven goals in 10 games so far this term.
It's a notable tally, and one that hasn't gone unnoticed outside of Germany. Arsenal are the latest side to be linked, after Jens Lehmann phoned Arsène Wenger and warned him not to miss out. It's easy to see why.
Reus is a left footed attacker, who predominately operates in wide areas, with a real licence to cut inside. Fast, technically excellent and a confident dribbler, he can carry the ball great distances across the pitch, using clever movement and unpredictability to easily beat three or four players in one attack.
Once in dangerous positions, he can finish, too. Reus boasts a real eye for goal, and with good composure and an impressive range of explosive finishes on either foot, he proves the end product is there on top of the flashy stuff. He also does the midfield basics: delivering a good cross and being quick and aggressive in closing the ball down.
It's all good, but the real question mark for clubs weighing up activating his £18 million release clause, is his poor fitness record. Reus has recovered from a cold in time to feature for Germany against Holland on Tuesday, but has pulled out of the squad injured in his last four call ups.
Overall, whoever eventually lands Reus, will get a player who will keep you on the edge of your seat. The combination of pace, high speed dribbling and quick feet, is tempered with real intelligence and awareness of how to use his devastating abilities to best effect. There's work to do, but there's plenty of potential to work with.
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