Why Marco Reus Will Shine Brighter Than Messi at World Cup 2014
In 15 months time, the best players and national teams in international football will converge on the footballing paradise of Brazil to compete at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup is a competition that has seen the likes of Gerd Muller, Eusebio, Pele, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and many other greats make their everlasting mark on the world of football.
In 2014, the world's greatest player, Lionel Messi of Argentina, is expected to fully vault himself into the conversation of greatest footballer ever.
But, Messi will not be the player who shines the brightest at the 2014 World Cup.
Marco Reus of Germany will be the player who steals all of the attention away from the Argentinian playmaker.
Reus, who currently plays his club football at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, has broken on to the international stage with plenty of fervor in the last 12 months and the 2014 World Cup will be the first time he gets a chance to lead his to a triumph on the world stage.
Just 18 months ago, Reus was the Bundesliga on fire at Borussia Monchengladbach and finding his way in the national team setup under manager Joachim Low.
After signing an agreement with Dortmund before the 2011-12 season ended, Reus had his sights set on Euro 2012.
Reus' success at the club level rewarded him with a spot in Low's 23-man squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine and in the build up to Euro 2012, he scored his first goal for Die Mannschaft in a friendly against Switzerland.
As Germany embarked on its campaign in the group of death, Reus waited patiently for his opportunity, something that did not come until the quarterfinal match against Greece.
Reus was a handed a start against Greece and he was one of the key cogs in the Germany machine that tore apart the Greek defense in a 4-2 victory. In the 74th minute of the match, Reus clinched Germany's victory with a goal.
After Germany was knocked out of Euro 2012 in the semifinals by Italy, all of the attention was shifted to 2014 and how they could get better in order to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for the fourth time.
One of the main reasons why Germany will be a contender in Brazil is the play of the talented youngsters, a group that is led by Reus and his Borussia Dortmund teammate Mario Gotze.
Who Will Play Better at the 2014 World Cup?
Reus has been preparing for the World Cup by dazzling fans with his wonderful play in a variety of positions for Dortmund. He has played in all three attacking midfield positions and even up front as a forward this season. In 32 matches in all competitions for Dortmund, Reus has scored 17 goals.
Now that we have a full background on what type of player Reus is, how does he compare to the masterful footballing magician Messi and why will he outshine the Argentinian on his own continent.
The first factor that plays in Reus' favor is that he has a better overall team surrounding him.
There is not a single weakness in the Germany squad and instead of having four or five set midfielders in a formation, all of the midfielders (including Reus) can change positions throughout the duration of a match.
The versatility of the Germany squad causes a matchup problem for any national team on the planet and when the Germans are in form, there is no stopping them.
As for Argentina, we all know what to expect from the dangerous attack that contains Messi, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain. But what we are not sure about is how the back four of La Albiceleste will perform.
Despite being on top of the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying table, Argentina has shown some lapses in three specific matches.
Alejandro Sabella's team lost to Venezuela and drew with Bolivia at home at the beginning of qualifying. In those two matches, Argentina only found the back of the net once. The other slip-up in their qualifying campaign came on September 11 as they drew with Peru on the road.
If the Argentina attack is shut down by their opponent, the back four will be given a difficult task of trying to keep a clean sheet.
Also playing in a role in Argentina's defensive success will be how players like Hugo Campagnaro and Ezequiel Garay—who are experienced at the club level but have a combined 20 appearances for the national team—perform.
Based on how the teams look on paper, Germany has a better squad than Argentina and they are poised to make a run deep into the knockout round of the World Cup.
With a longer run in the World Cup comes added attention to the stars of a team and that is where Reus should easily slot in.
Another factor that is playing in Reus' favor is that Germany have been known in the past to see success from a player that is relatively unknown to the casual fan of the game.
In 2010, it was Thomas Muller who set the world on fire with his five-goal performance for Germany as a 21-year-old.
Reus may go into Brazil with a bit more hype that Muller received but it will not be along the lines of the hype that Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar will produce in the lead up to the tournament.
Reus will have a chance to go into the 2014 World Cup as one of the top-20 players in the world and leave Brazil as one of the top three or four. That is how much potential Reus has and if he plays at the same level in Brazil that he has with Dortmund, his success next summer will be a no-brainer.
As for Messi, the spotlight of the entire planet will be solely placed in his direction. After achieving everything possible with Barcelona since the last World Cup took place in South Africa, the only thing left for Messi to do is lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for the first time.
Since he is the best player in the world and he has not seen much success with his national team, Messi will be under an extra level of scrutiny in the weeks and months leading up to the World Cup.
With the weight of the world on his shoulders heading into Brazil, anything less than a spot in the World Cup Final should be deemed a disappointment in the eyes of Argentinian fans with the best player in the world on their side.
Reus will not encounter anything close to the amount of pressure that Messi will feel in Brazil. Despite Germany being labelled a disappointment at Euro 2012, the pressure to win a coveted trophy should shift to the shoulders of the experienced players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm.
While the whole world will focus on Messi to start the 2014 World Cup, everyone's attention will shift to the talents of the superstar in the making for Germany who is set to take the world by storm in the next year.
Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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