Farewell, Kevin Großkreutz

After the dust of the transfer window has settled, it has become clear that Kevin Großkreutz has left Borussia Dortmund. His new club Galatasary didn’t manage to hand in all the paper work required to get a playing license for the current season, but the 27-year-old Dortmund native decided to join the club nevertheless, even if it means that he’ll has to wait until January to get his first chance at playing football again.

With Großkreutz German football has lost one of the figures you either loved or hated. Those fans who admired the allrounder, who featured in no less than 7 different positions on the pitch for Dortmund, even forgiving him his indiscretions. For them his heartfelt love for the club would make up for a thrown kebab in Cologne, taking a leak in the lobby of a hotel in Berlin or other controversies surrounding the vocal Dortmund born and bred player. Großkreutz’ father, Martin, told German football magazine 11 Freunde back in 2013 that Kevin always wanted a new Borussia Dortmund jersey for Christmas and that he was disappointed once when he found a bike under the Christmas tree instead of a kit of the Black and Yellows.

Living and breathing for these colours has been what the midfielder’s life has been about. He told 11 Freunde:

“Dad, granddad, and great-granddad were all BVB fans. The same goes for me and that won’t change for the rest of my life. It’s part of my DNA.”

In a day in age where footballers are traded as commodities and club loyalty seems to be on the descend, it was nice to have a guy like Großkreutz around who undoubtedly could understand what the fans on the stands were feeling. It bears mentioning that the midfielder himself used to stand on the legendary Südtribüne during home matches back when he was playing for LR Ahlen.

His joke about giving up a child for adoption if the kid turned out to be a Schalke fan made national headlines, and many prominent figures were rather upset about his comments. However, most Borussia Dortmund fans could fully identify with Großkreutz’ stand on the issue. First of all, most sensible people would have gotten that the 27-year-old was joking, and second of all it was his way of pointing out that a person from his background never could turn into a Schalke fan.

Großkreutz is never going to be the most technically gifted player or the player with the sweetest first touch of the ball the world has ever seen, however, he made up for his limitations through effort on the pitch. Intellectually the midfielder may not come across as the most complex figure German football has ever seen, but his understanding of the rather complex game of football is certainly astonishing.

Back in 2013 Jürgen Klopp exclaimed:”I haven’t called Kevin a tactical genius for no reason. Every year he manages to develop himself even further in different positions that require very different things of a player.”

In their marketing slogan Borussia Dortmund are promising their fans “Echte Liebe”(Real love). No other player in Borussia’s squad has been the embodiment of that feeling the club trying to sell more so than Großkreutz. How could they be selling him? It is sad to see such a player being forced to leave his team for sake of establishing a new regime under Thomas Tuchel.

The Bundesliga has certainly lost one of its most iconic figures. Grosskreutz was seldom spectacular on the pitch, but he always brought the right attitude to the table. The Bundesliga’s YouTube channel summed it up rather nicely a while ago.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 32-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.