Germany’s national team that played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was one of the more entertaining sides that competed in the event. The youth movement cultivated by Joachim Low augured well for Die Mannschaft as Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer took center stage.
One player who didn’t make that team because of the presence and superb game of Ozil, who was snapped up by Real Madrid after the World Cup, is Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze. Former German national player and Borussia Dortmund great Matthias Sammer raved about the talents of the 19-year old: “Even the blindest man can see that Gotze is a great talent. He is someone special.”
At the age of 18, Gotze became the youngest German to play for the national team since Uwe Seeler, when he came in the 78th minute in a scoreless draw with Sweden.
Gotze got a chance to show his game after regular starting attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa went down with an injury. In 39 matches, Gotze scored seven goals (although the Japanese player has better stats with 8 goals in 20 matches) and was a driving force behind Dortmund’s charge to the Bundesliga title dethroning Bayern Munich with two matches to spare.
With Kagawa down, Gotze score five goals and had 10 assists. His game drew the attention of Alex Ferguson who hoped to get him to move to Old Trafford.
But for now, Manchester United will have to wait – at least for another season – as Gotze seeks to help his club defend its title.
Dortmund kicked off their season with a masterful 3-1 win over Hamburg with Gotze scoring a goal reminiscent of Hernan Crespo’s sublime backheel to Esteban Cambiasso who scored for Argentina against Serbia in the 2006 World Cup.
Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski charged towards Hamburg’s goal and drew out keeper Jaroslav Drobny. Lewandowski then sent a back pass to Gotze who slotted home his sixth Bundesliga goal.
In the 48th minute, Gotze assisted on striker Kevin Grosskreutz’s goal that gave the defending champions a sizeable cushion against Hamburg that sent the home crowd at the Signal Iduna Park roaring in approval.
However, Dortmund was unable to sustain the momentum of the opening day win when TSG Hoffenheim knocked them off their perch with a 1-0 win at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena. The midfield partnership between Kagawa and Gotze has shown promise but the finishing needs to fine-tuning.
Gotze found the Japanese international inside the box with a low cross but Kagawa was unable to poke the ball in despite beating keeper Tom Starke.
The defending champions got back on track last August 20 with a convincing and efficient 2-nil win over Nurnberg. Gotze was once more a factor in the game when he sent a cross inside the box that Lewandowski lashed in for a goal in the 50th minute.
Just when the team seemed needed a second consecutive win to pick up their confidence, Dortmund reacted to the sending off of Bayer Leverkusen’s Michal Kadlec by seeing matters even out on the pitch when Gotze was issued a straight red card (and automatic suspension for the Hertha Berlin match on September 10) for kicking midfielder Hanno Balitsch in retaliation for a foul. The result was a disappointing scoreless draw and Borussia Dortmund tumbled to sixth place in the Bundesliga standings with a 2-1-1 record.
If it’s any consolation for the defending champions, Hertha Berlin is lodged at 11th spot with a 1-2-1 slate.
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