As Mario Gotze turns 29, let us look back at legendary club and international career that featured ups, downs - and plenty of silverware.
Germany have always been excellent at producing talented footballers. Yet perhaps no one in recent memory generated the hype of Mario Gotze. The Borussia Dortmund academy graduate was ever-present for the German national team and won a number of domestic titles with both Dortmund and Bayern Munich. The latter years of his career have been a slog, and he currently plays for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. That’s a far cry from his heyday in Germany’s top sides. However, the nimble playmaker will forever remain a legend of the sport – and his country.
After all, it was his sole goal that won Germany their latest FIFA World Cup in 2014.
As Mario Gotze turns 29, let us look back at legendary career that featured ups, downs – and plenty of silverware.
Gotze got his big break in the sport thanks to being part of Dortmund’s academy. Indeed, it was in the iconic black and yellow that he made his senior debut.
He made his debut on November 21, 2009 against Mainz, coming off the bench later in the game. Then-manager Jurgen Klopp liked what he saw and he was promoted to the senior team next year.
It was an inspired decision. Gotze played a key part in Dortmund doing the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal double the following year.
His ability to play in multiple positions – whether as a right winger, attacking midfielder and a False 9 – meant he continued to rack up appearances for BVB. And plenty of goals and assists too.
It wasn’t just his ability to play in multiple positions, however, that made him such a hot prospect. He was silky smooth on the ball and could create as well as score chances with equal panache.
Whether it was down to his dribbling or ability to pick passes or even his pin-point shooting, it was clear he was destined for greatness.
His move to rivals Bayern was controversial – it was announced just prior to the 2013 Champions League final, which saw Bayern face Dortmund. He didn’t play the game, however, due to an injury picked up in the semis.
His time at Bayern was a mixed bag – despite being a favourite of then-manager Pep Guardiola, he didn’t hit the heights expected of him. Eventually, he moved back to Dortmund.
Yet that move didn’t revive his career either. He is currently at PSV Eindhoven.
Gotze scored 4 goals in the 2014 World Cup final as Germany went on to win their fourth World Cup trophy in history. Amazingly, he didn’t even start the final.
Due to Joachim Low’s abundance of attacking options, he was initally named on the bench for the final against Argentina. However, with the game goalless in the 83rd minute, he was subbed on.
Low told him, “Show the world you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup,” before sending him on. To say that advice worked would be an understatement.
🏆 “I wanted to stay in the moment and soak it all up.”
♾ Forever a #WorldCup hero
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 3, 2021
Gotze went on to score a memorable goal, controlling a cross from Andre Schurrle on his chest and volleying home. Yet it speaks of his decline that he didn’t even make the 2018 World Cup squad.
A combination of health issues and a consistent drop of form have seen his career nosedive. Yet it is impossible to deny Mario Gotze anything but legendary status.