Marco Reus & Mario Götze GQ Interview (translated)
This interview is from the May Issue of the magazine GQ. That’s why Götze is still in Dortmund and Schürrle is still in Leverkusen while this interview took place. The translation was requested anonymously. x
Mario Götze and Marco Reus on their blind understanding on the pitch, their friendship and the vanity of football players.
GQ: Mr. Reus, Mr. Götze the whole world is convinced that you’ve been friends for ages because you both played for BVB in your teenage years. But because you, Mr. Reus, are three years older that Mario Götze you’ve never played in the same youth team. So when did you actually meet?
Reus: That was 2009, I think.
Götze: Yes, it was on the national team and not in Dortmund. We’ve only crossed each others paths in Dortmund, that’s it.
GQ: Football reporters like to talk about the ‘blind understanding on the pitch‘, which seems to exist between you even though you [Marco] started to play for Dortmund this season. But what really is this ‘blind understanding‘?
Reus: When you’re on the pitch you soon realize if your teammates are intelligent and act like it. If they detect situations shortly before they happen. With him and me it’s often that he knows when I will use which space on the pitch. It just happens.
GQ: But isn’t it necessary to know your teammate for a long time and to study his sequence of movements to do that?
Götze: It’s helpful but it’s not really necessary. As a football player you instinctively put yourself in the other players place and ask yourself: What would I do in his place? Marco often chooses ways I would have chosen, too. That’s what I’d call ‘blind understanding‘: You think the same.
GQ: Is it helpful on the pitch if you’re friends outside of the club? Or is there blind understanding with teammates who you think are total idiots in their private life?
MR: I guess that works as well, theoretically.
Götze: Probably yes. But it’s surely an advantage if you get on well with someone.
GQ: Are real friendships in professional football even possible? As a player you’re your own small business undertaking that has to make the best of 10, 15 years career in sports.
Reus: But that’s not how you think of it. In every team there are people you like and people you like less. Just like there are some with whom you get on great on the pitch but wouldn’t spend time with outside of work. It’s probably like in any other firm.
GQ: And you never think about if you should really invest in a friendship - even though it’s possible that because of transfers you’ll soon not be playing for the same club?
Reus: You don’t think about that either. If there is a real friendship then you call each other on the phone or you text each other. That’s what you would do with normal friends, too, who don’t have anything to do with football but have to move for their jobs.
Götze: The best example for that is André Schürrle. He plays for [Bayer] Leverkusen has a different rhythm with his club but we’re still close friends. Even if we only see each other in the national team we know about each other; what the other one is doing at that moment. Of course, every professional player will go his own path and no one knows where it will lead us. If a player transfers to an international club it’s even more difficult to keep in touch with him. Nuri Sahin is a good example: He helped me a lot when I made it to the first team. And suddenly he went to Real Madrid and was just gone.
Reus: But it’s not like you’re mad about it. Nuri is back in Dortmund anyway and if you watch the two of them, Mario and him you get the feeling: Your relationship is just like it was before.
GQ: Are friendships between professional football players rather different from ‚normal‘ friendships?
Götze: Sure, you celebrate victories together and get worked up about defeats together. Of course, you join in common cause.
GQ: On the contrary, is it much of a problem to tell a friend who doesn’t know how it feels stand in front of 80.000 people on the pitch what your life looks like; what is on your mind?
Götze: It’s not that extreme. There are friends who have been there when we played in a lot smaller arenas. Nevertheless, the friendship with Marco is something different: We’re in the same situation; there are a lot of identical things in our lives. It makes a lot of things easier while communicating with each other, not just when it comes to football. When you need advice for example.
GQ: Have there been situations where Marco helped you with an important decision, Mario?
Götze: Nooo, never!
Reus: Now, now!
GQ: Have you Mr. Reus?
Reus: I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know.
GQ: After all you’re three years older, Mr. Reus, you should be the more experienced one.
Götze: But he acts like he’s twelve.
Reus: True, sometimes I’m still like a twelve-year-old. But seriously: We talk about stuff but in the end everyone makes his own decision. Sure, you ask your friend: ‚How would you do it, what do you think about it?‘ That’s totally normal.
GQ: Has there been a situation when you realized: This fits, he thinks just like me.
Götze: Marco is a mad Justin-Bieber-Fan. I’m nothing compared to him.
Reus: What?! That is rubbish.
Götze: You even sing the songs and know the lyrics. I don’t!
GQ: Do you know Justin Biebers lyrics by heart, Mr. Reus?
Reus: Sure. I always sing everything. If it’s the car or at home. Music is playing everywhere. In the locker room as well. And very important: Not only Justin Bieber!
GQ: There’s Justin Bieber music playing in the locker room on saturdays?
Götze: Yes, sometimes just for fun. Pretty much all of us are still very young that’s why the music is probably a little different than in other teams.
GQ: And what connects you other than Justin Bieber and football?
Reus: When we first met in the national team it just fit. The fact that we like the same music helps but is not crucial.
Götze: We spend a lot of time mainly because of our job. That’s why it’s natural that this becomes intense very quickly if you get on well. And then when you get home there are the others: family, girlfriend, other friends who don’t have anything to do with the job.
GQ: How many friends do you have outside of the world of football?
Götze: Two or three really good ones. I grew up with them and they’re really close to me. With Marco and me it’s because of the experiences we both make together that our relationship developed so fast. It’s easier to tell each other what’s on your mind. Not just about work but also about private matters. There aren’t many people with whom I can speak honestly with.
GQ: Is there still some competition between you? As a top football player you must be naturally ambitious?
Götze: In what would we compete with each other?
GQ: Both of you for example are often compared to Lionel Messi in the media, sometimes it’s the one sometimes it’s the other. Do you argue about who’s called Messi more often? Or are comparisons like that absurd?
Reus: Lionel Messi is the world’s best football player. That guy is a machine, it’s brutal. Of course, he plays in an outstanding team and some of his goals seem so easy. But they are not. Barcelona has a special philosophy and therefore the comparison is nonsense.
GQ: In the Champions League you have successfully competed against strong teams. Pretty good feeling?
Götze: Sure, that’s where you want to go you’re whole life- to belong to the best. Whoever doesn’t strive for that is in the wrong place.
GQ: Is there a moment when you realized: This is what I always dreamt of; now it’s time, I have arrived - I can keep up with the big guys and even beat them?
Götze: This situation is really like that. It just happens. But you don’t think about what you’ve dreamt anymore. You look forward. You grow with the demands. When I was 15 I wanted nothing more than to play in the stadium. Now that I do it every week it has become normal. But you must always remind yourself what you have. And you should appreciate it.
Götze: As a player you rather think about which successes you could strive towards. You’re thinking: It’s not enough, I want to take the next step.
GQ: Have you, Mr. Götze, thought about the negative sides of football during your rather long phase of injury last year?
Götze: Yes. My career was just like I had imagined it since the youth national team. The injury last year was the first that threw me back a bit. It was really bad. But in that phase I’ve learned to have another perspective for more important things.
GQ: You, Mr. Reus, had to endure setbacks earlier in your career. You left BVB B-Youth at the age of 16 because they didn’t let you play. So you went to Rot Weiss Ahlen.
Reus: That was not really a setback for me. Only very few people make the transition from youth to pros in BVB. Mario made it, and Nuri. But other them them?
Götze: You must think about the situation in Dortmund. BVB was financially in a crucial place back then and therefore the club depended on its own young players and that was the time when I made the transition. That was what helped me. For Marco it wasn’t the same a few year earlier.
Reus: I left BVB because I wanted to play. It’s no use to be in Dortmund if you only sit on the bench. That’s why I decided with 16 to go that path. It turned out to be the right choice for me. Since then it’s getting better step for step, from Ahlen to Mönchengladbach, and from there back to Dortmund. I was lucky that I stayed healthy.
GQ: How big is your fear that a grave injury will come across your plans? Or do you just cut that out?
Reus: You shouldn’t waste a thought on that. Or you might be inhibited on the pitch. Instead you’re supposed to do you’re training in order to make you body and muscular system stronger. That’s the best way to prevent injuries.
GQ: The result is clearly visible on your bodies. What do you think about vanity? Obviously your outer appearance is important to you.
Reus: Oh, yeees! (Reus taps Götze’s thigh, points with his finger to him) Now I’m curious, what he’ll say!
GQ: Mr. Reus, do you want to answer for Mr. Götze?
Götze: I’m soo not vain!
Reus: Mario Götze is, well, how do I put this… Everyone wants to make the best of oneself and wants to look good. And tries out some things. Especially about the hair! That’s vital.
Götze: Someone is talking rather for themselves.
GQ: Where do you see potential for improvement on your outer appearance?
Götze: The beard still has to grow.
Reus: Right, the beard! Let’s say: He’s quite alright.
Götze: Everyone is a little bit vain. I like to take care of my appearance just like Marco. But I don’t concentrate on every detail, it’s not that important to me.
Reus: When in comes to vanity football players aren’t any different from ordinary men. But I think we’re both humble enough to know exactly what is really important in life. And it’s certainly not a haircut.