How the absence of Marco Reus affected Borussia Dortmund last season

Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)
Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images) /

Sancho and Haaland’s statistical decline

As mentioned earlier, you can see Reus’s effect on the game when you look at the performances of the other forwards.

Starting with Jadon Sancho, the Englishman was in the midst of a remarkable individual season. In his sixteen starts with Reus, Sancho tallied 12 goals and 12 assists. He had nine games where he got both a goal and an assist. Specifically in the 3-4-3 era, he scored eight goals and six assists in the seven games Reus was healthy for.

The aforementioned loss to Hoffenheim ended Sancho’s run of five straight league games with a goal. In the stretch of games after Reus’s season ending injury, Sancho would not have another game with both a goal and assist. Overall he had 5 goals and 3 assists in the games Reus would miss.

Sancho did have injury problems of his own, playing under 45 minutes in 7 of those 16 games. Still though, the drop in production is clear. When watching, it was easy to see that Sancho was not able to connect with the other forwards the way he could combine with Reus.

January signing Erling Haaland saw a similar difference in production. Haaland got off to an incredible start, scoring seven goals in his first three appearances. Realistically that production was always going to decline, but the timing and extent tells a story on Reus’s importance.

Reus was healthy for Haaland’s first three games where the striker starred. The 4-3 loss to Leverkusen was Haaland’s first game without the captain, and was also the first game he would not score and he often looked uninvolved in the game.

The difference in spacing and opportunities was clear to see when comparing Haaland’s early performances to the ones after Reus’s injury. In his first three games, Haaland scored seven goals on eight total shots. He scored every shot on target he had. In his remaining 12 games, he scored 6 goals on 26 total shots. Chances were less clear-cut as his teammates struggled to create opportunities, and his conversion rate showed it.

This is not to say that Sancho and Haaland played bad without Reus, or that their stats in the times without him were poor. After all, Sancho did get a hat-trick against Paderborn. And Haaland scored some important goals in the back end of the season. It just show the effect Reus has in making life easier for his teammates, and how it put the two on track for historic totals.