Hat-trick buoys Dortmund's Reus for Real clash
Germany's Marco Reus insists Borussia Dortmund's 3-2 fight-back victory at VfB Stuttgart gave his Bundesliga side a timely confidence booster for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final at Real Madrid.
Relegation-threatened Stuttgart raced into a 2-0 lead after just 19 minutes of Saturday's Bundesliga match, but Dortmund fought back as Reus claimed a hat-trick.
The three points kept Borussia second in the Bundesliga behind newly-crowned champions Bayern Munich.
Last season's finalists Dortmund now face a tough test at Real's imposing Bernabeu stadium before the return leg on April 8.
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final in Dortmund's 4-1 rout of Real last season, is suspended for the Madrid match, but Reus says his side must take heart from their fight-back.
"Regardless even of the Real match, it was important to get some self-confidence in the bank. We now know that we can come back, even if we're two goals down," said the 24-year-old Reus.
"We've proven to our critics that we can win before Champions League games.
"We were asleep for the first few minutes and the 2-0 was a wake-up call."
Dortmund have lost four times in the Bundesliga on the eve of Champions League matches this season and have lost three of their eight Champions League games en route to the quarter-finals.
Reus is an option to replace Lewandowski up front in Madrid and Dortmund are already without Germany left-back Marcel Schmelzer, who has a torn groin, and defensive midfielder Sven Bender, who has a pelvis problem.
Germany's Ilkay Gundogan has not played since August with a back injury and virus while both centre-back Neven Subotic and winger Jakub Blaszczykowski are out long-term with knee injuries.