Marco Reus: Forever number 11 – a declaration of love (opinion)

Farewell to Marco Reus
Forever Number 11: Take care, Capitano!

The Dortmund fans said goodbye to Marco Reus after 12 years with a standing ovation

© Bernd Thissen / DPA

After 12 years, Marco Reus is leaving Borussia Dortmund. He is already a legend today. And he will stay that way forever. A declaration of love.

There are four steps that lead up from the dark players’ tunnel into the dazzlingly bright floodlights of Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. The square, 105 by 68 meters in size, surrounded by 81,365 crazy people in the stands. Many players who wore the black and yellow jersey have gone this route. Only a few have received a farewell like that Marco Reus. On Saturday he walked this route one last time.

Players like him only come around every few decades. Thomas Müller at Bayern is one of those people. It was also Francesco Totti for AS Roma – players who played practically their entire career at just one club and resisted the call of abroad and big money. Loyalty is still very important in the Ruhr area and especially in Dortmund. There can be arguments, but you have to be able to rely on each other. Probably one of the last remnants of mining. Buddies help each other. Buddies are there for each other.

He held out the bones for BVB for 12 years

Reus was there. For 12 years he literally held out his bones for black and yellow. “He always had shit on his shoe,” you can still hear in the stadium today. This refers to Reus’ medical records, which are significantly more extensive than his trophy collection. Pubic bone injury, cruciate ligament tear, lateral ligament tear – practically everything the body has to offer has been broken at some point in Reus’s life. He missed more than 140 professional games because he was in a hospital bed. And he fought his way back again and again. This perseverance alone can make you a legend.

But even when Reus was on the field, he was a perfect fit for BVB. He was unpretentious, technically almost perfect, but never resorted to unnecessary dribbling and step-overs. He perfected the beauty of the simple game. The backcourt was his territory, a flat pass from the wing and Reus’s irresistible shooting technique made the fans cheer dozens of times. Hardly any player in the history of the Bundesliga could caress the ball with the inside of his foot like him.

This graceful, almost slight boy from Dortmund became a role model for an entire generation of fans. Almost shy off the field. His appearances were never extravagant or arrogant; for Reus, the decisive factor was always “on the pitch,” as BVB icon Adi Preißler once said.

The number 11 will always belong to Marco Reus

And he also represented Borussia Dortmund’s general upward trend over the past decade. Where Reus played from 2013 onwards, players like Steven Pienaar and Florian Kringe were on the pitch just a few years before and fighting against relegation. With Reus, sustained success also came to Dortmund.

Two Champions League finals, two DFB Cup victories, six times runner-up. Only the championship trophy was denied to Reus. And perhaps that is exactly what makes his story perfect. In Dortmund you don’t have to be a champion to become a legend.

Reus’ number 11 will be heavy as lead for many years to come. Fan initiatives even demanded that they never be given away again as a reminder of Reus. But that probably won’t be necessary. The 34-year-old has already received one of the highest honors that exists in Dortmund: Since this week, his picture has adorned the entrance to block 13 of the south stand – the block of the BVB ultras.

Whether reassigned or not: the number 11 will always belong to Marco Reus. And until we meet again all we can say is: Thank you! And: Take care, Captain!

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