It may be four years since he last played under Jurgen Klopp but Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus still remembers the current Liverpool manager fondly.
Klopp, widely regarded as one of the best managers in the world at the moment, enjoyed a successful eight-year reign at Dortmund, which reaped two Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Champions League final.
After a brief break from management, Klopp’s return came in October 2015 when he was handed the reins of Premier League giants Liverpool and, after a few near misses, finally landed silverware back in June when his side beat Tottenham to win the Champions League.
In line with his former boss’ long stay at Signal Iduna Park, Reus is embarking on his 8th season at the club but admits to being unsure when Dortmund first came calling while he was still a Borussia Monchengladbach player – until he met Klopp.
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“On the one hand, I was very happy at Gladbach,” Reus told DAZN, according to an article on the Bundesliga’s official website.
“We had a strong side and I really wanted continuity. I felt that we could grow as a team and play European football in the seasons ahead, something which Gladbach hadn’t managed for years.
“But on the other hand, chances to return to your hometown club don’t come along often.
“I wrote down a list of pros and cons, and pretty quickly came to the decision that I wanted to move to BVB. It was a matter of the heart.
“Oh my god, Jurgen was such an animal!
“If Jurgen sits in front of you with his aura, which he radiates even when speaking, with his stature, it’s really quite impressive.
“He brings you under his spell and will not let you go. My heart was racing after we first spoke. He was definitely one of the reasons why I signed for Dortmund.
“Jurgen can develop players and make them better. He has a special way about him.”
While Reus has remained committed to the Black and Yellow cause, Dortmund have seen their fair share of stars depart over the years, especially with reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich proving almost impossible to resist.
Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze are some of the big names that have made the switch to the Allianz Arena in recent years, although the latter two have since returned.
Given his close friendship with Gotze, Reus admits that he was conflicted when he first discovered his fellow Germany international – who famously scored the goal that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup – was switching allegiances.
“I was at home, [the doorbell] rang and Mario was at my door,” recalled the 30-year-old. “He told me personally that he will leave the club and take a different path.
“We had a good team that was well set for the years to come. And I felt that we could play even better together, so it was difficult to take at that moment. I didn’t know what to do or say.
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“Was I angry? I don’t want to say that, but of course you always want to play with the best players. When one of the best goes, it’s difficult to understand.
“In the end, everyone makes their own decisions. You only have one career. And if that was the right decision for him, then everybody must accept that.”
Dortmund kick off their Bundesliga campaign on August 17 against Augsburg, although they do have a DFL-Supercup clash with Bayern and a DFB-Pokal first-round tie against Uerdingen before then.