Marco Reus is confident he'll make Germany's 2018 World Cup squad after making his full-season debut on Saturday in BVB's 2-0 win over HSV.
Reus, 28, was sidelined for nearly nine months after picking up a ligament injury during Dortmund's DFB Pokal win in May 2017 and BVB coach Peter Stoger told a news conference on Thursday ahead of the game that he was unsure whether the midfielder would be included in the matchday squad.
However, Reus was indeed in the squad against Hamburg and he was immediately rotated back into the starting XI:
"[Peter Stoger] and I were in frequent exchange," he told ESPN FC after the game. "Because I wanted to see how the week in training would develop. Yesterday we decided that I wanted to be in the team and the coach also wanted me to play.
"It did not come as a surprise to me that I started. After such a long injury it's always harder to start off the bench, especially in a match like today's.
"But I'm feeling good, everything was OK today. I could have played the full distance but one should not overdo it, especially with the crammed fixture list in mind. We have important games on Thursday and then Sunday."
Reus was subbed off for Mario Gotze in the 71st minute with Dortmund riding a narrow 1-0 lead. The playmaker had contributed three key passes and played the ball to Christian Pulisic, who squared for Michy Batshuayi to score the opener after 48 minutes.
Reus said it was too soon to say whether he would feature in BVB's home leg against Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday.
"We'll have to wait and see if I can already play on Thursday. First of all, it was important for me to make my comeback. Being injured for eight months is a long time for a footballer, I had to be very patient," Reus said.
"And, of course, it will still take some time until my teammates and I are used to playing together again. It was visible that we didn't play our best game today but we shouldn't focus too much on the negative. We won today. And if you win, we'll automatically play better football going forward."
The midfielder was not troubled by playing centrally as opposed to on the wing, where he has played in most of his 190 appearances for the Black and Yellows.
"I actually prefer to play in the No. 10 position," he said: "I've shown my best performances in that position but it's hard to predict how it will look like in the future since we have a lot of players that want to play on that position.
"Maybe we'll play in a 4-1-4-1 formation with two playmakers in the No. 10 or No. 8 positions, respectively."
Asked, how he is seeing his chances to be part of Germany's World Cup team in 2018, Reus said: "Very good. I was in a frequent exchange with [national team coach] Joachim Low over the last months. We often texted and phoned and he's always up to date. Of course, I have to perform well to be a part [of the World Cup squad], but I also know that I will be a part when I perform well."
Reus also revealed that it was not always easy to keep the motivation up during a long time of being sidelined.
He said: "In the beginning, it was extremely tough. Especially in the first two months, when the comeback is still very far away. But it's always a great feeling to play in this stadium and be with the team. I think being back with the team and feeling the atmosphere is what I missed the most. So I'm happy that it finally worked out today."
Having played only 97 minutes together with Gotze since the latter returned from Bayern Munich, Reus said he is looking forward to being back on the pitch together with his friend: "If the coach allows it, I'm very much looking forward to it. I think that we'll form a powerful weapon, especially in attack.
"We haven't played together much since his return one and a half years ago, also not with Andre Schurrle. We're always joking about that in the dressing room but now it's finally time that we're all back together on the field."
Gotze, who doubled BVB's lead in stoppage time, told ESPN FC that he was "super happy" about Reus' comeback.
Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win sees them move into third place in the Bundesliga table, one point off second-placed RB Leipzig.