The New Year often brings a new start for people, but in the case of Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus, there is more uncertainty than optimism going into 2024 with his position within the squad under a cloud and his relationship with the coach reportedly strained (to say the least).
Dortmund’s failure to win the Bundesliga title last season put paid to Marco Reus’ dream of leading his hometown club to the Meisterschale and gave him the added impetus to sign a one-year contract extension with the Schwarzgelben. He gave up the captaincy, but still felt he had enough to offer the team as they strove to make good on the disappointment of 2022-23.
The Hinrunde saw him make eleven starts with two substitute appearances, scoring three goals in the process and adding two assists. The raw stats look good, but they don’t tell the whole story of what is going on behind the scenes.
Reports have emerged that coach Edin Terzic has a strained relationship with his BVB squad and that a group of senior players led by Reus approached the club’s chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke to complain about the trainer’s lack of tactical nous and push for a change.
When Reus was substituted before the hour mark against Augsburg on matchday 16, he gave Terzic a no-look handshake to show his disgust and was then subsequently left on the bench for the entirety of the 1-1 draw with Mainz with teenager Samuel Bamba sent on rather than him.
The potential signing of Jadon Sancho on loan from Manchester United is only going to further diminish his chances of regular starts and minutes on the pitch with Dortmund in need of a positive start to the Rückrunde.
Reus remains a talisman at the club, but knows that at the age of 34 his playing days at the very top level are numbered. If it did come down to a showdown, where the choice for the BVB hierarchy was between Reus or Terzic, it is difficult to imagine the player coming out on the losing side.
Dortmund’s decision to bring in both Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender as new assistant coaches to Terzic has led to speculation that one of them is being groomed as a potential successor. The power politics behind the scenes are not seen in public, but the situation with Marco Reus is clearly not ideal and it seems something has to give.
The role Reus plays in the opening fixtures of the Rückrunde will be telling. Will it be a happy New Year for Reus or the beginning of the end of his Borussia Dortmund journey?