Watching Mario Gotze sink into second-rate status after spending his early years at the top was perhaps the fear of any Dortmund fan, the day he opted to leave the club for Bayern Munich in 2013.

Back then, the 25-year-old was one of the frighteningly proficient youngsters at a time when the German game was on the rise.

However, the fact remains that even after reversing his decision to part ways with Dortmund three years later, the effects of his misguided move to the Allianz Arena are still being felt.

Scoring the winning goal against Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup was a landmark moment for Gotze which seemed to be what would transform his fortunes after an underwhelming debut season in Bayern’s colours.

However, Pep Guardiola’s cynicism in regards to team tactics during the course of the campaign meant no particular midfielder apart from Xabi Alonso was actually guaranteed regular playing time.

Evidently, that was something Gotze could have done research on before the decision of jumping ship to Bayern.

The regretful truth is that the versatile midfielder was one of the poster boys of an exuberant Dortmund side ahead of his exit.

Perhaps, Gotze believed he would walk straight into the Bayern starting eleven and if that was really the case, he had a valid point.

But any team with an array of options which includes Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in attack would be unable to guarantee start after start to incoming wingers or forwards.

In all fairness, Gotze did receive his opportunities to pick up from where he left off at Dortmund but fitness blows did enough to hinder his progress at the Allianz Arena.

Of course, Guardiola is a manager known for his perfectionist view of how fit a player should be and so when injuries interrupted Gotze’s form, the Spanish tactician wasted no time in giving other players a try.

Three years after winning the World Cup for his country, the talented midfielder’s name as one of the best is diminishing.

However, all is not lost for Gotze since age is rather on his side while Guardiola is no longer the man he is taking orders from.

And reasonably out of gratitude for what he accomplished in 2014, the Dortmund ace is still receiving call-ups for the national team regardless of his form at club level.

The 2016/17 season was another one to forget for Mario but not for the first time, injuries, more so than lack of quality, were to blame for his struggles.

At 25, Gotze still has a whole lot to offer and overcoming recent fitness hurdles could see him return to the apex of his career.

However, there is no doubt that the Bayern Munich switch dragged him back at a time when he had the world at his feet.

Matthew HopkinsPost
Watching Mario Gotze sink into second-rate status after spending his early years at the top was perhaps the fear of any Dortmund fan, the day he opted to leave the club for Bayern Munich in 2013. Back then, the 25-year-old was one of the frighteningly proficient youngsters at a time when...