After months out of the spotlight, Mario Götze has finally made his long-awaited comeback for Borussia Dortmund Saturday in Japan and will be looking forward to making his mark in the 2017-18 season.
It seems only yesterday, but it was getting on for three years ago that Bundestrainer Joachim Löw sent Götze on as a substitute in the 2014 World Cup final with the instructions to “show the world you are better than Messi”. Götze duly delivered the winner, but his star sadly waned following the glory of the Maracana.
His move back to Dortmund from Bayern Munich didn’t reignite the career of Germany’s bright hope and since his return to the Signal Iduna Park from Bayern Munich last summer he only managed 16 appearances and two goals. Numerous muscular injuries then led to the club deciding to launch an internal medical investigation into the causes.
A metabolic disorder was discovered meaning Götze would sit out the last five months of last season. However, after much hard work and fitness conditioning, the 25-year-old is back and took to the field for the Schwarzgelben as they beat Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds 3-2 in a pre-season friendly, Dortmund’s second of the season. The World Cup hero entered the match in the 62nd minute, and was part of the buildup to Emre Mor’s first goal in the 76th minute. (André Schürrle bagged the game-winner after Mor’s brace).
While most Bundesliga stars were enjoying themselves on the beach or on a yacht during the summer holidays, Götze has been on the fitness trail in America with the hard work paying dividends.
His second half appearance at the Saitama Stadium on Saturday was welcome news for new BVB trainer Peter Bosz. “First of all, I am glad for Mario himself, he has not trained or played for a long time. We have to be careful with him.
“We are glad that he could play for 30 minutes today. He was also very happy about the game. Now we have to look every day as it goes on, and we hope that he can take further steps quickly and can play 90 minutes’ football as soon as possible.”
So the stage is set for Götze under the guidance of new trainer Bosz to get his mojo back and slowly to return to the heights where he was once compared to Messi.
Götze himself though is philosophic as to what lays ahead. “Every player develops over time, as does every team and every opponent. I will never be the old Mario Götze again,” he said.
“Every chapter in life helps you move forward. I learned a lot in Munich. I played with world-class players, matured and learned from any setbacks.”
He’s had his setbacks, but could the 2017-18 Bundesliga season be the launchpad for the reigniting of the career of Mario Götze?
Editor’s Note: Next up for Götze and BvB will be Tuesday’s match in China against new-look AC Milan (televised in US on ESPNU at 7:15 am EDT). BvB follows that ICC tournament match with a friendly with VfL Bochum (July 22) and another against La Liga side Espanyol on July 28,.