Mario Götze has earned ample recognition for his playmaking abilities. In both club matches and international matches, he’s demonstrated elite skills with the ball at his feet and a keen eye for goal. Despite his heartbreaking move to Bayern, Dortmund fans have welcomed him back as one of their own. Here are 10 facts about Borussia Dortmund’s fantastic forward:
1. He has Dortmund in his DNA
Mario Götze’s connection to Dortmund dates back to his youth. The Memmingen, Germany native joined Dortmund’s youth academy at just eight years old and is one of many young stars to get their start with the Black and Yellow as a youth footballer.
2. He had to earn his starting role
While the world is all too familiar with Götze’s remarkable skills on the pitch, many forget that he had to fight to earn his starting role early in his career. His first appearance came as an 88th-minute substitute in a scoreless draw with Mainz on November 21, 2009. During that season’s winter break, manager Jürgen Klopp promoted Götze from substitute to first-team following consistent success in training.
3. Forever in the record books
While playing for Dortmund under Jürgen Klopp, Mario Götze was part of Dortmund’s record-setting, title-winning squads in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Götze was one of many young stars who shined in Dortmund’s 2010-11 championship season, helping the club set the record for the youngest squad ever to win the Bundesliga. The following season, Götze was part of another record-setting squad: Dortmund finished their successful title defense with a then-record 81 points.
4. He embodies “German Luxury”
While recalling Götze’s heartbreaking transfer to Beyern stirs up a plethora of emotions among Dortmund supporters, the transfer itself set another record. At the time, Götze’s €37 million release clause made him the most expensive German ever.
5. His family is a huge part of his life
Götze lived with his parents while dazzling the world with his skills on the pitch. From the time he was ten to the time he was 20, he lived with his family. His move to Bayern signaled his first real opportunity to live on his own, an opportunity that others find when they attend university. But Götze knew that playing football meant that attending university wasn’t part of his future.
6. His family was equally affected by his move to Bayern
Götze’s move to Bayern unsurprisingly broke the hearts of many Dortmund fans. He recalled comments from fans and spectators that epitomized their frustration. But, as he noted in his Players’ Tribune article, what bothered him most was the way it impacted his family. His parents received death threats and his 14-year-old brother was confronted at school. On one hand, he was 20 years old and excited for an opportunity to move out from his parents’ house. On the other hand, he was blindsided by the resentment and hateful comments directed at his family members.
7. Two sides to every coin
Götze had the opportunity to play for two of football’s most iconic managers: Jürgen Klopp at Dortmund, and Pep Guardiola at Bayern. He attributes much of his success on the pitch to their passion as managers.
However, he’s equally complimentary of both managers’ ability to balance their passion and intensity with their off-the-pitch personalities. Just as he matches their passion as managers with his passion for playing, he also matches their ability to remain personable and approachable off the pitch; his article for the Players’ Tribune highlights his willingness to see issues from multiple perspectives.
8. He scored the deciding goal in the World Cup
In the 88th minute of the 2014 World Cup Finals, Mario Götze came in as a substitute for Germany. Much like his first appearance with Dortmund, the match was scoreless. German manager Joachim Low allegedly told Götze, “Show the world that you are better than Messi.” In the 113th minute, Götze tallied the only goal of the match, securing the World Cup for Germany.
9. Health concerns
Götze was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, prompting media speculation about whether he would be able to continue playing football. Thanks in large part to his own perseverance and to his focus on rehab, he has not only continued playing football, but he has also remained one of Germany’s most exciting players to watch, all while returning to Dortmund and sporting the Black and Yellow kit that he wore at the start of his career.
10. Mr. and Mrs. Götze are happily married
Mario Götze legally married his wife, Ann-Kathrin, in 2018. Due to his loyalty to his club and training, the couple were unable to celebrate with a full-scale wedding at the time. However, the two have since managed to quietly escape the media and enjoy a proper wedding with their closest friends and family in Mallorca. The couple have been together for a few years, and Mario officially proposed to Ann-Kathrin in June of 2016.
A 2019 graduate from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Ryan is an aspiring sports writer with a profound passion for the Black and Yellow. On match day, Ryan can likely be seen draped in Dortmund’s colors, perennially pacing the living room of his Ann Arbor apartment. He dreams of one day watching a match from world football’s largest and most impressive standing terrace, The Yellow Wall.