By Oliver Trust
After his two goals for Germany against Poland, Mario Goetze is again a hero on the international stage. However, the 23-year-old still has a problem at his club Bayern Munich where head coach Pep Guardiola does not seem to be convinced that he can rely on the striker in important games.
His goal in the 2014 World Cup final a year ago secured Goetze a place in football’s history books but did not improve his standing at his club. The striker was on the verge of leaving for Juventus or Arsenal. His status has declined from a World Cup winner to a talent struggling to make his mark.
A regular for the German national team, Goetze was mostly sidelined in Munich which many saw as being down to him and Guardiola not getting on well together.
In the German Cup final, Goetze was on the bench as well for most of the time for the Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two most important games in Guardiola’s era at Bayern.
Now games like the ones against Poland and the second European Championship qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow on Monday could put him on the road back to happiness.
Guardiola denies having a problem with Goetze who denies having a problem with the Spaniard. Nevertheless Goetze has difficulties which in turn could affect his career in the national team in the long run too.
Like most key players Goetze needs playing time to fulfill the demands of Germany’s head coach, Joachim Loew. Until now, however, Goetze appears only to be on the fringe in Munich. Guardiola leaves him out in important games or substitutes him. In 32 league games, Gotze only played the full 90 minutes on 18 occasions, which is far from being a regular part of the team.
Goetze’s reaction wasn’t helpful either. He has never been a big entertainer and a source of fun. But in the past two years he has hardly said anything after being transferred from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich (37 million Euros). It coincided with Guardiola’s arrival at the Bavarian club.
At first Goetze was regarded as a starting present for the new coach but he has somehow disappeared off the public’s radar. Frustrated, he oscillated between the nation’s hero and a gifted talent without friends, hardly the best state to find peace of mind.
Goetze’s club Bayern Munich was accused by striker Thomas Mueller of not having done everything to give Goetze full support. “It is not easy when you feel the doubts in your own club, and that again and again,” Mueller said.
When Germany beat Poland 3-1, he was that hero again when only for one game. Coach Loew expressed deep trust in Goetze in advance of the encounter. “He is enormously valuable for us,” said Loew. “He knew we fully trust him, that made things easier for him,” Loew said.
Goetze felt at home, a feeling he hasn’t had so far in Munich. But now it seems as if Goetze is embracing the fight for a better future. It looks like as if Germany’s World Cup hero realized that it takes more than a special goal to be a much-loved star and successful professional footballer. And that a goal like the one he scored on 13 July 2014 against Argentina, watched by the entire world, can also be a burden as expectations rise sky high. And that this once-in-a-lifetime goal might not be enough to retain his status as the people’s hero for long.
A few days ago, Goetze and Bayern announced the forward will be staying put, and this despite him ignoring the advice of many telling him to move on. Loew has now given him a solid base to restart his career in Munich, with full support of the German national team knowing it might need the moments of brilliance especially when considering the fact that Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) seems to be injury prone.
Reus was seen as being the man for the left flank so that Goetze could only hope to be given the central striking role, a job he has never learned nor been partial to. But at least it gives him playing time in the national team.
Still it seems Goetze has a long road ahead of him and it is far from certain that it will be crowned by success at his club and country. He however seems to be desperate to make a renewed attempt to become a hero again, knowing that only he himself can manage to leave his emotional depths.
The former Dortmund striker has decided to be more open. He has started to smile at press conferences and has realized that if he is to become accepted, he needs to do some public relations work as well as scoring goals.
Goetze, normally quiet and shy, is now talking and answering the questions put to him in greater depth. His new openness appears like a starting signal for a new era.
No question, Germany’s World Cup hero has reached a turning point. Against Scotland on Monday, he has got the next chance to show he is determined to turn around his tricky situation. He is also well aware that he has to continue in the same vein when he returns to his club where there is a coach that so far does not seem to be convinced he needs a man whose main claim to fame was that he scored a special goal but one that has so far failed to show he is ready for life as a constant hero.
“It was a great feeling to score and to be needed in the national team,” said Goetze. Maybe that’s what he wants to feel and hear at Bayern Munich too. This season seems to be the last chance. If it does not work Goetze in 2016 could well be disappointed enough to join another club. Enditem