Of all the places to meet Marco Reus, it is fitting somehow that he settles down to talk in the middle of the Footbonaut.
This futuristic football training machine is a new addition to the facilities used by the German champions at their training base. The Footbonaut's inventor suggests that 15 minutes at its mercy gives a player the same amount of touches on the ball they would experience during a week of normal practice.
It is a cage with 72 panels on the walls that shoots balls from a variety of angles and then illuminates one of the panels for the player to pass the ball into. The Footbonaut can be set at different speeds and can even put spin on the ball. The idea is to polish a player's sharpness, technique, spatial awareness and peripheral vision. "It demands precise skills used at pace in a physically tough environment," enthuses Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp.
That description applies appropriately to Reus. The 23-year-old winger's high-tempo technique has become a great asset for Dortmund since he rejoined his boyhood team last summer from VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. He is already blessed with the qualities the Footbonaut is designed to encourage and has used this natural talent to help lead his side into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in his first season in the competition.
How have you found your debut UEFA Champions League campaign?
Reus: When I walked out onto the pitch for my first Champions League match and heard the anthem playing, it was a dream come true. As a child I would sit in front of the TV on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings watching Champions League games and now I'm part of it.
You seem to have settled very quickly at Dortmund.
Reus: Yes, sure. It helped that I already knew some of the players from training and playing with the national team and I lived in Dortmund for many years. I played for the Dortmund youth team, so it was never a question for me whether I would fit in or not. I was just looking forward to the next adventure. I hope I continue to develop.
What makes the club so special?
Reus: The supporters: the team behind the team. You see it at every home and away match. So many fans travel with us, there are always a few thousand fans supporting us at every away game. They pay a lot of money for the journeys and travel long distances. We try to give our best on the pitch to pay the fans back for the support they continue to show us.
Franz Beckenbauer has spoken highly of your combination with team-mate Mario Götze. Why do you play so well together?
Reus: I don't have to say much about Mario. He is still a young player but he is so strong already. He is a very intelligent player and he seems to know where I will run in many situations. It's important to have somebody on the pitch who has the same ideas as you. And Mario has that. It's great fun to play alongside him.
How did the way you two celebrate a goal come about?
Reus: We follow basketball and when they score big points in the NBA they celebrate like that. It's just a bit of fun really.
Do you think the current side can replicate the 1997 team and go on to win the UEFA Champions League?
Reus: All we can do is try to beat our next opponent. It doesn't make sense to talk about the final just yet.
This is an edited version of an article in the new edition of Champions Matchday, official magazine of the UEFA Champions League. It is available in digital versions on Apple Newsstand or Zinio, as well as in print, and you can follow the magazine on Twitter @ChampionsMag.
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