It is no secret that Bayern Munich was interested in Marco Reus. Throughout the first half of the season, many figures associated with the Bavarians came out and made statements about Reus in an attempt to convince him to sign for the Rekordmeister. There was also rumored interest from Bayern’s domestic rivals, Borussia Dortmund, who Reus used to play for, as well as Arsenal, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester City. Reus himself was coy on a potential move to FC Bayern.
Bayern fans received an unpleasant surprise during the winter break when Reus announced that he’d sign for Dortmund at the end of the season. After four months of flirting with a player who most people thought would eventually join them, Bayern fans were shocked to find out that Marco Reus snubbed them in order to join Borussia Dortmund, a team who, despite its domestic strength, isn’t considered a European power. Of course, there was talk about how Bayern was no longer the sole superpower in the Bundesliga anymore. Talk of how Dortmund was keeping its star players in order to present a title challenge to Bayern for many years. Talk of how Bayern were outsmarted by a club with less money and trophies. This talk wasn’t baseless, however, as Dortmund will have a class defense, midfield and attack next year. In fact, the only position on the pitch where Dortmund doesn’t have considerable quality is the full-back position. Could this really be happening? Could Dortmund really be ready to compete with and even overtake Bayern?
Never a team to panic, Bayern began the pursuit of another target. This time it was the Swiss youngster Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri, who was instrumental in Basel’s elimination of Manchester United during the Champions League group stage, had attracted interest from many teams in Europe. He was close to signing for Galatasaray in January, but talks broke down. It was also rumored that Manchester United was interested in signing the youngster that played a huge role in knocking them down to the Europa League. Just nine days after the transfer window shut in Europe, Bayern delighted their fans by confirming the signing of Shaqiri for the next season for about 10 million Euros, almost half the price that Reus cost.
There were inevitable comparisons between the two players, of course, as both teams had boosted their squad with young, exciting attackers. Many are wondering which player will help his team out more; here are a few stats about each player.
|Season Appearances (Basel only)||23|
|Season Offensive Productivity||35%|
|Career Appearances (Basel only)||111|
|Career Offensive Productivity||42%|
In his short career to date, Shaqiri has racked up 18 goals and 19 assists in 111 appearances. While these are not disappointing statistics, they are certainly not world-class ones. Keep in mind that Shaqiri is playing as a right-midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation with Basel, so he is not meant to be the one scoring the goals (this also explains his many assists). It is also evident from various compilations of his career’s highlights that Shaqiri scores many traumtors. Like Robben, who he is eventually meant to replace, Shaqiri likes to cut in from the right and fire dangerous shots with his powerful left foot. His goal against England in a great example of that. When Shaqiri joins Bayern, he will probably have more offensive duties, just like Robben has now. The Bundesliga is a physical league, and that should be a point of worry for someone of Shaqiri’s size (170cm), however it isn’t that much of a problem for him, why is that? The answer is because Shaqiri is, to put it bluntly, built like a tank. Despite his small stature, “Shaq” is quite muscular and one would be forgiven for mistaking him for a bodybuilder! All Bayern fans will be hoping that Shaqiri will be a great addition to the team and fix the right-wing problem that has plagued the team since the beginning of the season.
|Season Appearances (BMG only)||23|
|Season Offensive Productivity||100%|
|Career Appearances (club only)||135|
|Career Offensive Productivity||42%|
Reus’s statistics this season are noticeably better than Shaqiri’s (and many other players). He has been by far Gladbach’s outstanding player this season and his exploits have hauled the club up to third place, just one point behind Bayern. As is the case with Shaqiri, Reus is only gaining fame this season. Last year he was simply another player in a dreadful Gladbach team. This season, however, Reus is the leading star of an exciting, counter-attacking team full of noted youngsters such as Patrick Hermann and Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen. Unlike Shaqiri, Reus has not been tested in Europe or with the national team. Whereas Shaqiri is an established member of the Swiss national team and has put in some good performances in the Champions League, Reus only has three caps for Germany in meaningless friendlies as well as no appearances in European competitions. Reus is meant to be a starter for Dortmund next season, as opposed to Shaqiri’s role of being a good rotation option. Next season, Dortmund will be lining up with a very exciting attack consisting of Robert Lewandowski being supported by the Japanese superstar Shinji Kagawa, the homegrown wonderkid Mario Götze and the exciting winger Marco Reus. This is an offense capable of troubling Europe’s best back-fours and, given its players’ young age, is capable of wreaking havoc together for at least five years. Different roles means that Reus will be expected to have an immediate impact for Dortmund, while Shaqiri will be expected to become an important member of the team in two to three years.
In conclusion, Dortmund’s capture of Reus will be a huge boost for its title hopes in the coming years. With an attack rivaling Europe’s best as well as a quality midfield and defense, Dortmund will hope to trouble Bayern for many years. An attack consisting of Reus, Kagawa, Götze and Lewandowski will be the envy of many teams next year, but Bayern fans have no reason to worry, however, as they support a team with many classy midfielders and attackers such as David Alaba, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez. Reus is a player that will have to perform instantly in order for Dortmund to achieve its goals. Shaqiri, while not as talented as Reus at the moment, is expected to become a quality player in the next few years. It will be no surprise if Shaqiri, who is two years younger than Reus and almost twice as cheap, is considered better than Reus in a few years.
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