When it comes to Bayern Munich’s starting eleven in one of the most important games this season, against Juventus on Wednesday, many fans will miss the name of a German football hero: Mario Goetze.
The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final at the age of 22 has won four German championships, the German Cup twice, with over 150 Bundesliga appearances and almost 50 international caps for Germany, will just be one of the substitutes waiting for chances to come onto the field, reports Xinhua.
Others are playing the starring role for the German football giants when speed along the flanks and a deadly instinct in the box are required to finish the delicate job of eliminating the 2015 Champions League runners-up.
Having to challenge rivals like high-speed stars Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Douglas Costa or Kingsley Coman, midfield passing machines like Thiago Alcantara, Arturo Vidal or ice-cold assassins like Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller seems to be as impossible as to stretch out your hands and try to touch the moon.
When Bayern try to get an iron-like grip on the game against a most probably defensive-minded Italian side, they will need rocket-like attacks to break down the Juventus defense and their famed 4-1-4-1 system. Most pundits are convinced there will be no place for Goetze. The former Borussia Dortmund prodigy may be part of a remarkable squad like Bayern, but he is far from being regarded as a man able of making a difference.
And more: Not only Lothar Matthaeus, Germany’s football legend with 150 caps, expects Goetze to leave, like Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola, next summer. Their destination though won’t be the same. It is no secret that Guardiola never fell in love with Goetze. When Bayern bought him from Dortmund (37 million euros), the 45-year-old Spaniard was yearning for Neymar (Barcelona).
Matthaeus now assumes Goetze could be a second Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) who left one year before his contract at Bayern Munich expired. His contract expires in 2017 and will have to be sold in summer if the club is to get a transfer fee to fill their coffers. Recently contracts with stars and key figures like Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Mueller and Manuel Neuer have been extended. There has been no talk of Goetze staying longer.
"We have to consider what the player wants," said Bayern’s director of football Matthias Sammer.
After Bayern announced that Carlo Ancelotti will fill in the void left by Guardiola as Bayern coach, it seems unlikely that the club has not already talked to the Italian coach about Goetze.
Now speculations about his future are growing. Liverpool are said to have shown interest especially now Goetze’s former Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp is in charge. Nobody doubts that the 22-year-old will find a club and Bayern will collect a sum close to the one they splashed out in 2013.
Europe’s "Golden Boy" of 2013 (title for the best under-21 player) will have to restart his already illustrious career. It might help that Goetze still is one of the fruits of the German coaching system. He is highly talented and capable of scoring goals like the winning goal against Argentina which was a technical masterpiece. And it might help that he is a key figure for Germany’s Joachim Loew in the coming European Championship in France where the World Cup-winning coach is determined to win the title.
"I’m not worried that Mario Goetze has not had much playing-time recently," said Loew after Goetze returned after being sidelined for four months with an injury.
For some, it might be heaven to be a member of the squad at a club like Bayern. However it can’t be heaven for a genius man like Goetze, an unhappy super substitute and talented understudy watching others play the starring roles. Asserting himself seems to be the hardest job for one of the most talented players German football has ever produced.
Goetze only has a future in Munich, Matthaeus assumes, "when Bayern and Ancelotti have not already made a decision about Goetze’s value for the club". But not to have come to an agreement, at least officially, leads to the conclusion that Germany’s football hero is bound for new shores soon.
"It would be great if he could help us in the next two months when it is vital we bag some silverware to put on display," said Bayern’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Does that sound like a confession of love or at least a lot of optimism?