One of the most controversial transfers in recent times, Mario Gotze has completed 2 seasons at Bayern. Belying all expectations though, he hasn’t really set the world on fire. The reaction to him has been mixed, with some quarters calling for a move for the young German superstar. Alex Lynch looks at his Bayern Munich career.
Setting the stage
It was in the midst of a normal day in the spring of 2013, it was late April, the 23rd to be exact, when all of German Football was changed for all of the foreseeable future. It was announced on that day that Dortmund’s 20 year old prodigy Mario Gotze, who was Dortmund through and through was going to sign for Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich. The entire world of football was stunned, that less than two days before Dortmund’s champions league clash with Real Madrid, Mario Gotze- Dortmund’s beloved son- was signing for archrival and German superpower Bayern Munich. All Borussia Dortmund could say was they were “disappointed” and “sad”, as Mario Gotze became their supreme Judas, and one of the biggest proclaimed “traitors” that the footballing world has ever seen. Bayern would of course win the treble in that season, and defeat Dortmund in the champions league final. As that following August Mario Gotze would finally get what he wished for and play for Guardiola and Bayern.
First season for Bayern Munich
With Gotze’s arrival at Bayern, despite only being 21, the expectations from the Bayern supporters where very high for Gotze, since not only was he the German record fee (before Mesut Ozil), but he wasn’t loved in Munich, as he lead Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles in a row. Gotze’s first season so far has been his best in Munich, as he virtually equaled his statistics from the season before. According to Whoscored.com, Gotze had 10 goals in his last season for Dortmund, and his first year in Munich. As well as 8 and 9 assists. In the Champions league, he was slightly better for Dortmund albeit in more starts, with 2 goals and 5 assists in Dortmund, and 3 goals with one assist for Bayern. In his first season for Bayern, despite losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League, they had a relatively successful season as a team, winning the Bundesliga as well as the DFB-Pokal. Gotze played his part, but as a 21 year old in his first season with a new club, it’s fair to say that Gotze lived up to the high expectations in Munich.
Second season syndrome
After a Positive first season in Munich, and the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina still fresh in the minds of every football fan, the expectations for Bayern Munich and Mario Gotze with Pep Guardiola having a full season were extraordinarily high. Bayern had also just signed Robert Lewandowski from rivals Borussia Dortmund, putting even more pressure on Gotze, Guardiola and Bayern to deliver in the Champions League. And in his second season for Bayern Munich, Gotze was largely a disappointment for Bayern. According to Whoscored.com, Gotze scored 9 goals and had two assists in the Bundesliga, less than his previous two seasons. And in the Champions League, Gotze didn’t contribute all that much for Bayern either with only four goals. He was even dropped against Barcelona in the semi final, coming on as a substitute in both legs of the Champions League tie as Gotze and Bayern were embarrassed once again in the semi-final. Gotze to the frustration of all Bayern supporters didn’t progress much at all in his second season with the club. All the while Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund missed out on the top four in large part due to the inability to replace Gotze and Lewandowski. Pundits and fans alike began to wonder whether it would’ve been better for Gotze to stay at Dortmund after they beat Bayern in the DFB-pokal. Bayern as a team as previously mentioned didn’t have a great season, only winning the Bundesliga and losing in the Champions League and DFB pokal semi finals. And with Pep Guardiola entering the final year of his contract, transfer rumors surrounding Gotze were inevitable.
The third season so far
Despite some minor summer links, Gotze stayed put at Bayern, setting the stage for what would be his make-or-break season at Bayern Munich. So far this season, Gotze has been largely a substitute to Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal. Scoring his first goal in his last 18 games this recently, Gotze hasn’t had the scoring touch this season, despite piling up an impressive three assists he hasn’t been a feature player for Guardiola. The jury is still out on this season of course, but the future playing time could be hard to come by for Gotze, as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have hardly featured for Bayern this season.
To sum up Gotze’s time in Munich, he’s had a large amount of ups and downs when playing for Bayern Munich, most have described Gotze’s tenure as “disappointing” or “frustrating” with “some success”. Those words perfectly summarize Gotze at Bayern, because at this point no one would say he’s lived up to his fee or potential. But barely being 23 years old and maybe being one of the 10 most talented players in the world, despite disappointing career so far, the jury is still not out for Mario Gotze and Bayern Munich. For now.
Written by Alex Lynch
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