At only 22 years of age, Mario Gotze may have just scored the most important goal of his career. Of course, as the world now knows, that goal came in extra time for Germany to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was a beautifully taken goal that will now take his status from superstar to legend, at least in his home country.
Mario Gotze has long been a known commodity in the world of club football, winning three Bundesliga titles with two teams at the young age of 22. He started his professional career with Borussia Dortmund, and helped them turn around their fortunes and compete with German powerhouse Bayern Munich on a regular basis. He showed the world early on in his career the type of talent he had, breaking into the Dortmund first team in the 2010-2011 season, making 41 appearances and scoring eight goals, helping his team to their first German title since 2002. That season, he was one part of a young dynamic attack that also included Robert Lewandowski and Shinji Kagawa. Together, with previously unknown manager Jurgen Klopp, they took Germany by storm, showing the rest of the country that Bayern were in fact beatable.
Even though Gotze himself was kept out of most of the 2012 season due to a hip injury, his club Dortmund were again able to win the Bundesliga. He was now becoming a hot commodity on the transfer market with all the top teams in Europe trying to convince him their way. It was long rumored that Bayern had the best shot of acquiring his signature, due to his German roots. In April 2013, the Munich club were able to do just that when they announced the signing for a then German record of 37 Million Euros. His past manager Klopp was very frustrated by when the announcement was made. as it came just before a crucial match against Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League. He faced a lot of criticism in his home country and club Borussia Dortmund for the move, as it was seen as him joining the enemy. He was pitted between his old and new clubs in the 2013 Champions League final when Dortmund faced Bayern Munich. Mario was left out of the Dortmund side through injury and was often spotted in the crowd rooting for his Dortmund, who eventually lost 2-1.
In July 2013, Gotze was finally an official member of Bayern Munich and would help them to one of their best seasons. He had a fantastic statistical season for Bayern, scoring 15 goals and adding 12 assists, even though he never truly secured a regular first team place. Bayern went on to win the DFB Pokal and the Bundesliga in spectacular fashion, winning the title earlier than any other team ever had. They fell to Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League and that is really the only negative that can be counted against Bayern the entire 2013-2014 season. Gotze quickly became one of new Bayern manager Pep Guardia’s favorite attackers, even though he did not get the consistent playing time many expected from him.
In the lead up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, much was made about the role in which Gotze would be used by German manager Joachim Low. It was reported that he may be deployed in a false 9 role, meaning he would play in the striker position, but really be more relied upon to create goals rather than score them himself. He was never really used in that role early on, but he used more as a winger alongside Thomas Mueller. In the group stage, he did not do much to stay in an extremely deep German side and was not able to hold onto his starting spot. He did not start any of the knockout stage matches, but made quite the impact in the final against Argentina when he was brought on as a substitute.
Late in regulation of the World Cup final against Argentina, Mario Gotze replaced striker Miroslav Klose, finally placing him in the false 9 role he was rumored to be used in. Right before entering the match, his Manager Low told him to “show the world you are better than Messi” and in the 113th minute, that’s exactly what he did. In the second extra time, the 22-year-old was able to take down a Andre Schurrle cross with his chest and finish across the goalie into the net spectacularly to ultimately win the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Gotze instantly became a German footballing legend with one kick and now will look to be apart of a team that could go on to create a dynasty similar to the run the Spanish National Team recently went on. He is still only 22-years-old and should continue to be a star for both club and country for years to come. The footballing world will now be waiting for Mario Gotze’s next big moment after the goal that won Germany their fourth World Cup title.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius