German international Marco Reus on the semifinals, opponent Italy and his personal development at the EURO 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine.
Question: Your first match at the Euros was against Greece. Is this still like a dream for you, especially as then you also scored a goal in that match? Or did you think it would happen (to play and score)?
Reus: Well, before the match I thought about wanting to do well in the match, of course, and that I give my performance, and help the team. I didn´t play in the first three matches, and that was disappointing, but the coach told me that I should continue fighting and that I would get the chance to play, and then when I got the chance I had to be ready and I tried to perform well, and we won the match, and so that´s why I´m very satisfied.
Question: It’s always said that young players should gain experience at a tournament. But what does that mean? What do you learn here, and what do you take with you as experience?
Reus: Well, I think it really helps in certain situations if you have already gained experience in the previous two or three tournaments. Now we will play the semi-final, and it´s good to have experience to know how to deal with such a match. It´s the same as in the Bundesliga, it´s always good to have a certain amount of experience. If you are new, you deal with it in a different way, during the match as well. We still have a lot of players in our team who haven´t played in any big tournaments so far, but we proved we can do it. Take Mats Hummels as an example, who has played his first four matches here at the Euros, and who has given good performances, and we other players as well who are able to give high quality performances.
Question: Could you give us more detail about how you deal with such a situation? What do you differently? And what do you learn exactly at such a tournament, what is it?
Reus: Well, you play here against the best teams, against the best players in the world. And so you already learn something in training here with the German team. The quality is very high within the team. So you are challenged every day, and so you improve every day, and I think that this is the objective of every single one of us. And then of course, during the matches you face the best players in the world, and you can copy a lot of things in how they play. So all this is very helpful.
Question: Copying things is a good point. The German team is very young, so are there more experienced players within the team who help the younger players, like talking to you and giving you tips?
Reus: Well, I think that´s normal, but even us young players can give tips to the more experienced players, everybody has their ideas and opinions, and everybody respects that, and this is very important, and that´s how it always should be. And then if a player like Bastian Schweinsteiger or Philipp Lahm come to you, and tell you you need to do things this or that way, then of course it´s better, and you have to take it and try to do it.
Question: You will now face Italy. How do you regard that team?
Reus: They are a team who are very uncomfortable to play against. They have a player in Andrea Pirlo who has extraordinary qualities, and who proved it against England, where he gave a great performance, giving great passes and (possible) assists. So that´s one thing we have to watch out for very carefully, we need to stop him as early as possible so he can´t play those passes. But the whole team is set up with good players. In attack they have Balotelli and Cassano, that´s great quality. This will definitely be different from the match against Greece, we will definitely be challenged more, but we will find some free spaces, I guess, as they also play attacking football, and we will be well-prepared for the match against Italy.
Question: Miroslav Klose just said that Germany will probably dominate the match and play pretty offensively. Do you see that in the same way? How do you have to play to beat Italy?
Reus: Well, I think Miro(slav) is right. In all our previous matches here, we have had about 60 or 70% ball possession, and this is good for our game, we need to have ball possession so that we can move better. I think that with Italy, you need to put them under pressure as against every team, you need to force them to make mistakes, you shouldn´t let them get into the game. And I think that we showed in previous matches that we can do that.
Question: The top team is still Spain, but they were criticized in their previous matches. How can you beat a team like Spain? How do you steal the ball from them?
Reus: Well, I still see them as a very strong opponent. They are the defending European champions, and world champions as well. I don’t think it’s easy to arrive at a tournament and to easily beat everybody again. So I think you should still count on the Spanish team. I think they have one of the best teams in the world, with fantastic players. Take for example Iniesta, such a great player. But we know that every team can be beaten. But of course we need a good day, so that´s why I think that there is no reason why we shouldn´t make it this year.
Question: Against Greece you played a great match. You received lots of positive feedback. How high are your hopes of starting against Italy?
Reus: Of course you always hope that you will play, but I think that I have to continue to show my quality in training, and offer myself to the coach, and in the end it´s always the coach who decides who plays.
Question: There is always a fight for the different positions in the team, and it´s positive that is what is always said. But are there moments when you think less of a fight for your spot would be nicer for you?
Reus: No, I don´t think so. I think that it is good for all of us players. Everybody has the aim of improving, and if you can fight and compare yourself with the strongest ones, that´s the way it should be, and I think that from that the team also improves. Everybody knows that they have to give their best every day, and give 100% so you can make it into the team and play.
Question: We talked about this with Andreas Koepke yesterday. And he said that this is very typical for the German team, that there is no competition between the players. Other teams like France or Holland have that problem, and this has a negative influence. Why don´t you have that here in your team?
Reus: Well, it´s like that with us. As I said before, everybody wants to play, but we don’t do as the others do and communicate it to the public, and tell the press that we are not satisfied. We don´t want that, but we know how to behave, we are one team, and everybody knows that, and everybody has to accept that. We all have a great objective. We want to win the title this year.
Question: The style that you play with here in the national team is different from the one you play with for your club in Mönchengladbach. What does the coach here want you to do? And how is it different to what your club coach tells you?
Reus: First of all, I have teammates, and the coach has his own style, and we have games to play, which is obvious. In the early stages, when I was new to the team, it was a bit strange because you had to play differently, and maybe you had to change your way of playing, but during that time I got used to it. Actually, I didn't have to change my own style so much, instead I could apply my skills.
Question: What do you mean by changing your style? Do you mean you have to play more defensively in midfield as well as on the wings, like you are used to from the time when you played for Mönchengladbach, or do you mean something else?
Reus: No, at Mönchengladbach it was usual for the left and right wingers to have to run back to play more defensively, and I think every team applies this, and that should be the case anyway. Nobody should be excluded, you defend with 11 players and you play attacking football at the same time...these are minor things, and obviously the quality changes with a national team, and you play at a higher pace...and you develop a feel for the game and for the training with the team, but I think I’ve got used to that and I’m happy to be here.[bild2]
Question: Looking ahead, in theory you could play against Portugal, who you already played against, so do you think that this is an advantage or a disadvantage? What’s your opinion on this?
Reus: We had our first game against them, and they were a very uncomfortable opponent to play against, and I think we had very few goalscoring opportunities, and so did they...and then Mario scored that beautiful goal for us...and yes, individually they are also well-equipped, and they maintain good quality within their team, and they can defend and attack well...but like you said, I think that’s a bit far ahead, we have a game on Thursday against Italy which we will have to focus on.
Question: The time between the Greece game and the Italy game is quite long, how do you occupy yourself?
Reus: There are many things that we can do here, you can play table tennis, table football, pool and darts. We can even use the exercise room for a bit and ride a bike, or have a go on the Playstation, there are many things to do, but obviously you have more time between the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. You have 6 days, which is longer than the 3-4 days in between the games, which you might prefer.
Question: Last question, one can see that you play very well with André Schuerrle and with Mario Goetze. How is it on the pitch, in terms of their style, which players do you enjoy playing with on the pitch?
Reus: If we talk about Greece, I think I played in harmony with Mesut, because he is very generous, and he has the creativity to play one-twos, which he really demands, and I think it worked out really well...but it’s not only Mesut, there also other players who suit my game, and they know how I roll, and they know my runs and how I want to play, and I think over the years everything will improve, and I‘m looking forward to it.