Borussia Dortmund, Clubs, Marco Reus, Story, UEFA Europa League

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Marco Reus could make his first appearance of the season in European competition when Borussia Dortmund take on Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday.

Germany international Reus, who returned to Bundesliga action at the weekend after a long injury layoff, is set to feature as he works towards the World Cup this summer.

“We all want him to be healthy and remain healthy,” coach Peter Stoger told his prematch news conference. “He wants to play, and we’ll discuss it with him. He leaves a good impression on me.

“We have the feeling it’s all good for him. And if it’s all good for a player with his qualities, he’d usually be part of the group.”

Dortmund were relegated to the Europa League following a disappointing Champions League campaign under former coach Peter Bosz.

And his replacement Stoger said he expected a tough round-of-32 challenge against the Serie A team at the Westfalenstadion.

“They are physical side,” Stoger said. “We’ve seen in Italy that Atalanta know how to make life difficult for big teams, and I always have respect for well-organised sides.”

At the weekend, Stoger was praised by BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, who said the former Cologne coach could get a new contract beyond the summer.

But the Austrian said now was not the time to talk about a deal and added: “We agreed in December that we will do this job until the summer.

“I don’t need to think about what will be in two, three months. We must do our job. We are so focused on our task here that I don’t think about this.

“What I understood was that we so far have lost no match [in the league], and that — if it stays like this until the end of the season — there could be an option [for a new contract]. What I also understood is that there is trust between us.”

Although Dortmund have not lost a Bundesliga match since Stoger took over, they have yet to play against the leading clubs, with their four wins and three draws coming against six teams in the bottom half of the league.

“A wise coach once said that you must think from game to game,” he said.

“We need to get into a good starting position for the reverse fixture [against Atalanta] tomorrow, and on Sunday [at Borussia Monchengladbach] make sure we remain headed for Champions League qualification in the league.”

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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