In an age of fleeting loyalties, Marco Reus is out of the ordinary. The German playmaker came to Borussia Dortmund in 2012, joining a club he grew up supporting but rejected when he was just 16.

Saturday was an opportunity for the club to return the salaries of its loyal soldiers, but unfortunately, after a 2-2 draw with Mainz on the final day of the league, the elusive Bundesliga title still eludes Reus. With Bayern beating Köln and adding another silverware to their brimming trophy cabinet, Dortmund will look to this day in the future and reflect on what could have been.

Since joining Dortmund from Borussia Mönchengladbach 11 years ago, Reus has been a constant at the club even as many superstars – Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels – have come and gone. It’s not like he didn’t have lucrative offers for his services from anywhere else. But somehow, for a club that seemed almost nonchalant about parting ways with its top names almost every year, Reus was always indispensable at Die Schwarzgelben.

In his time at the club, he helped them reach the UEFA Champions League Final in his first season. In the end, he would win two DFB Pokals with them as well as being named German Player of the Year in 2012 and 2019.

“The whole club and the whole city would be very happy for Marco Reus if we could get our hands on the title this weekend,” Dortmund’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl told international reporters at a round table earlier this week.

“I know what that would mean for him in his role as captain. Marco has written so many stories here and he’s done great things at this club for so many years. One thing that’s always been said about him is that he never managed to win a title. I think that’s something that always amazes him a little bit.” Keel added.

That dream was once again shattered in cruel fashion as the playmaker sat in the middle of the pitch with a stunned expression as reality blew upon him. In the end, it was very hard to bear as tears began to stream down his face, as his years of pain and disappointment culminated in that one moment.

Destiny’s daughter

Misfortune did not haunt him only at the club level.

Over the past decade, Reus has been one of those players who has always been one step closer to glory. But for one reason or another, it will still fall completely short of what its massive potential promised.

His career is often seen as a perfect example of what could have been. Because the German had the worst luck when it came to representing the national team, as he was plagued by injuries before major tournaments.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup – a competition which ended up being won by Germany – he was ruled out with an ankle injury. Fitness problems ruled him out of Euro 2016 two years later. He managed to compete in the 2018 World Cup, but Germany was eliminated in the group stage. He excluded himself from Euro 2020.

Reus was all set to represent Germany at the recently concluded 2022 World Cup. But again, fate had other plans. He was forced to sit outside due to another ankle injury.

Slow, but steady

Saturday night was supposed to be the crowning moment for a player who gave his sweat, tears and blood to the club, but fate had other ideas. The 33-year-old has slowed down considerably this season as the ravages of age, coupled with injuries, finally catch up with him. The Dortmund captain has not started a Bundesliga match since April 1 against Bayern, instead opting to come off the bench for each of the next seven league matches.

A team man to the very end, he was content to fulfill his role as the likes of Jude Bellingham, Sebastien Haller, Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen sprinted forward to take the world by storm.

Even after such a debilitating loss, some of those players may be leaving for pastures in a newer, greener form. But Rios will still be around. Standing in front of the legendary Yellow Wall in Signal Iduna Park. Or do whatever it takes to help the club. as always.


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