Germany’s exciting young talent didn’t stop at Ozil, Muller and Khedira; there’s a new batch of wunderkinds eager to join them on the world stage all led by a mesmerising Dortmund teen Franz Beckenbauer recently likened to Messi. Considering his wealth of tricks and promise Mario Götze has slipped under everyone’s radar a little. Chris Brookes puts that right.
Borussia Dortmund’s 19-year-old playmaker Mario Götze is a name entering more and more people’s mindsets by the day. The outrageously gifted attacking midfielder was a key component in the club’s Bundesliga title win last season and European football’s premier names have been strongly linked in recent times with huge-money bids for him.
Of course it would be slightly dismissive to talk of the ‘big clubs’ on the continent as if Dortmund are at all small-time. Although ‘Die Borussen’ had before last year struggled to sustain any sort of meaningful title challenge since their success in 2002, finishing third the following year and as low down as 13th in 2008, the 1997 Champions League and Intercontinental Cup winners are still a prestigious footballing name. Manager Jürgen Klopp has progressed the team superbly in his three years in charge and gave the mercurial Götze his chance in the first team in November 2009 in a league clash with 1. FSV Mainz 05. Last season was a fantastic one for both player and club and the six league goals and 11 assists he weighed in with were of vital significance as the team won the division by seven points from perennial ‘nearly men’ Bayer Leverkusen.
Frequently there are supremely talented players who rise to prominence, but every now and again there are individuals with a truly remarkable aura about them – Götze is one of these. At such a tender age he is fast becoming the focal point for the champions and with the national team he is quickly leaving the periphery, ready to rise to the fore. He made his international bow in November 2010 in a friendly with Sweden and scored his first goal for his country in a friendly win over Brazil in Stuttgart this August. Although boss Joachim Löw has yet to fully introduce him as one of his key players, the possibility is drawing ever nearer.
It is little wonder that such figures as Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer have been so effusive in their praise of Götze, although this has predictably added to the intrigue
Having been living in Lanzarote this summer with a Dortmund-supporting flatmate, I observed for myself the live television coverage of Götze’s influence in the opening game of this season’s Bundesliga. The wizardry of ‘Super Mario’ helped to dismantle Hamburger SV with ease, as he scored one and assisted two others for Kevin Großkreutz in a 3-1 home win. I also saw him come on to score his second international goal as Germany defeated Austria 6-2 in Gelsenkirchen to secure Euro 2012 qualification, producing a wonderfully improvised prodded finish past the goalkeeper late on. Great players, attacking ones especially, radiate an energy that can illuminate games in an instant and there is a showmanship about this guy. It is little wonder that such figures as Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer have been so effusive in their praise of Götze, although this has predictably added to the intrigue from clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Inter Milan and even Bayern Munich.
The way the German national team go about their business in games is efficiently, without fuss or fanfare, with solid and resolute performers allied with extra flair and ability in key areas. Götze is just the kind of explosive and magical variable to push the team on to a different level of destructibility, potentially for years to come. Stepping back just for a second from the hype, many mitigating factors can as we all know hamper some of the biggest talents so it will be compelling to see how his career plays out. Described though by Beckenbauer as ‘the German Messi’, I have a strong feeling that by the time the European Championships are upon us the pundits will be in overdrive talking about this youngster.
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