Former Borussia Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer has backed current Dortmund coach Peter Stoger and praised Marco Reus' "persistence and patience" after the midfielder endured a torrid time with injuries.
Reus, who scored in the BVB's 1-1 draw with Augsburg on Monday, has seen his career heavily disrupted by a number of serious injury setbacks in recent years. Last season, the German international missed the first half of the campaign with a pelvic problem. The 28-year-old then missed the rest of the season after suffering a ruptured knee ligament.
He made his return on February 10 in a 2-0 victory over Hamburg and started in Monday's game to Augsburg. Former coach Sammer believes that the midfielder's persistence should command more respect.
"I'm absolutely convinced by Marco and I have much more respect for him due to the situations that he has lived through," Sammer told Kicker (via GOAL).
"If you take Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo now, who have had few injuries and played football for a decade at almost God-given levels, that is certainly wonderful and has my respect.
"But I think those situations that Marco went through are lessons for life. He is a true role model for many. Not giving up, continuing, surviving difficult phases, stabilising to continue living, showing motivation for the profession – that is Marco Reus."
Regarding current BVB coach Peter Stoger, who joined Dortmund in December from Koln following the sacking of Peter Bosz, Sammer believes he has done a good job thus far and should be allowed to remain with the 2nd-placed Bundesliga side: "Of course, no question."
"Anyone who has shown such qualities, in a very difficult situation, there is not enough credit. The club, the team and the fans are united again. The start has been made and that stability has to remain, but what has already been done is extraordinary," Sammer claimed.
"I do not think they have to cross the finish line first to assess what Peter Stoger has done.
"The way Peter Stoger conveys calm, reassures and at the same time gives the team stability and freedom is exactly the right recipe."