Former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Götze says his return to Dortmund is his biggest career-regret.
In a recent interview, Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Mario Götze opened up about his biggest career regret, which incidentally involved his return to Borussia Dortmund after his stint with Bayern Munich. The former German international controversially jumped ship for Bayern at the conclusion of the 2012/13 season; a season where both German sides met in the Champions League final. The transfer itself was announced well in advance of this game however.
Götze’s time at Bayern was a mixed bag in terms of personal performances, and he returned to Dortmund in 2016 in an effort to revive his career. That effort proved in vain as his performances were nowhere near the heights he had previously attained while at the club.
It was later revealed that Götze struggled with metabolic issues, a condition that played a large role in hampering his performances and form. Götze took a step back from football for six months, with the club supporting him through his absence.
In 2020, Götze made the move abroad to PSV Eindhoven and then returned to the Bundesliga with Frankfurt in 2022, where he has been an important player for Die Adler. According to Götze, his move abroad should have come much sooner, namely after his time at Bayern came to an end:
"“I should have made a different decision back then. I had one or two other options and went to see Jürgen [Klopp] in Liverpool. It would have been good for me to go abroad after playing for Dortmund and Bayern. What I did then, four years later, was just to find a new setup.”"
Despite the fact that it took some time, Götze has indeed been successful in reviving his career as a professional and playing an important role for a Bundesliga side. His story is a cautionary one, for both players and clubs alike in many respects.
That being said, the players comments should likely be taken with an air of neutrality, because just as it was a mistake in the player’s eyes, it was likely a mistake for the club as well. Götze’s return to the club came in a time of turbulence in the club, where the club went through four managers. For a player struggling with both illness and form, it was never going to be an environment where he could find stability, as the system and ideas would change far too frequently.
The club, on it’s part, should have also known better than to go back in for Götze. Their focus should have been on bringing in new blood rather than looking at Dortmund’s former prodigal son through rose tinted glasses. While I won’t say that players returning to former clubs is always an issue, Dortmund have made it a habit to bring back former players only for them to have a mixed, or limited impact. The club have to do a better job assessing whether the returning player will be able to play an important, game-changing role or not.
At the time of the move itself, I openly confess that I was a proponent of it. Götze was immensely talented at the height of his powers with Dortmund, and it would have made for one absolutely scintillating redemption arc had he returned, succeeded, and even propelled Dortmund to new heights. Alas, like Götze, I can now clearly see the error in my line of thinking.