There's no chance of Germany forward Marco Reus staying cool when talking about participating in his first ever major tournament -- the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Borussia Dortmund winger has had an injury ridden career which cost him a chance at the 2014 World Cup as well.
There is no doubt that his presence is lethal on field and with the German midfielders who can find space like picking a needle from a hay, Reus can make a huge difference for the defending champions in Russia.
The blond striker, who was one of Germany's better players in a poor overall performance when beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their last warm-up match on Friday, is eagerly awaiting the upcoming World Cup.
"I'm full of expectation when I think about the time in Russia," he commented with just a few days to go before setting off for Russia next Tuesday.
Reus is Loew's secret weapon when it comes to doing the unexpected. But currently Reus is more than just an ideal winger or midfielder, he is in support to Loew trying to fight the presently gloomy mood surrounding the German team after a series of disappointing results in pre-World Cup friendlies.
Beating underdogs Saudi Arabia was the first victory after five disappointing games. Uncertainty and doubts make things difficult for Loew's team as it lacks balance and ideas. It will be up to Reus to help the team to improve.
With a broad smile all over his face, the Borussia Dortmund star speaks about his and the German team's ambitious goal to be the first team to defend the title since 1962 successfully.
"It's in our head (to defend World Cup title) all the time. Everybody is extremely concentrated as we know we will be the ones everyone wants to beat. But we feel great confidence," Reus emphasized.
Due to injuries, the 29-year-old missed the 2014 tournament in Brazil and later said he went to bed immediately after his teammates had beaten Argentina 1-0.
The winger missed Mario Gotze's magnificent gesture when displaying Reus's shirt during the new world champions' post-match celebrations.
After fighting his way back through an eight-month injury break only a few weeks ago, his time has now come in 2018. Reus is hoping to be on the pitch when it counts most and not like in the past in front of the television.
"I want to help the team," he says ignoring the fact that he will play a vital role in the tactical system of the national team coach Loew.
Loew demands the greatest versatility of his performers. In front of a strong midfield and behind a one-man spearhead, the wingers will be expected to attack the penalty areas and goal to create space for left and right backs moving in from behind.
"He is extremely gifted and surprises every opponent. Watching him at training, you must admit he is what you call a rocket," Loew underlined. The German coach is hoping Reus is going to vitalize the so far uninspired title-holders squad.
The German coach said Reus is top class due to his instinct and his unique feeling for spaces and passes. "He can read a game and is extremely fast," Loew said calling Reus one of the key factors if Germany is to be successful in Russia.
Currently, the German team is far from the best shape.
What makes Loew praise Reus's abilities is his versatility as he plays as a left winger as well as in central midfield and as a center forward.
"He is a weapon," Loew said. After performing well against Saudi Arabia, Reus is a candidate for the starting eleven. Midfielder Mesut Oezil is in danger to lose his place.
"Marco's abilities provide many options for the coach," Germany's team manager Oliver Bierhoff commented adding he and the entire team are keeping their fingers crossed that Reus stays fit.
"He deserves to go through a major tournament without an injury more than every other player. He has had to go through hard times in the past," Bierhoff said.
The "man for unusual things" (Loew about Reus) says he is determined to "get the rocket started" in Russia.
After 56 years, it is time for world champions to successfully defend the title, the German striker said.
"We need to do better in Russia, but the team will improve as soon as the tournament is kicked off," Reus commented.
(With IANS Inputs)