It was not an easy time. After scoring a goal for the ages, he came back to the city where he grew up and also grew as a footballer. He learned that "when you are calm, you can process things better". Mario Götze has matured – as a man and as a footballer – in the place where he had some great moments playing at Borussia last season.
It was not an easy time for him, but that has little to do with Dortmund, and little to do with BVB. Mario Götze has always been judged by 2014, by his goal in the World Cup final against Argentina in Rio. It was not just an important goal in the most important competition of all, but also a work of art, a great composition of anticipation, craftsmanship and finishing. The goal made him famous and raised expectations. What does a moment like that do to a man who, at the age of 22, has only just become a man, and is on a path that is not yet clear? "I don't want to say anything bad about 2014," is the answer to the question: "It was good, a great thing, a once in a lifetime moment, but at some point enough is enough. There is a time for everything, and it's been five years now. Football is such a fast-paced business. That means that you are only as good as your last game. Only for me, it was different, the question was always: is he better than in 2014?
In public perception, it didn't matter that he had a great season at Bayern Munich right after the World Cup. Even after returning to the BVB, the shadow of Rio still loomed large. That was until the 2018/19 season, when Lucien Favre came to Dortmund and fell in love with Mario Götze, "with his way of not only playing football, but also feeling and thinking." That is how Favre, the football romanticist from Switzerland, put it. Despite all the love, he made Mario Götze suffer a little at first. He had to put in the work and provide. It was not an easy start – he was a regular on the bench and the spiteful questions came as to whether the 2014 World Cup hero was still good enough for the Bundesliga.
"I didn't feel that it was a setback at all," Götze said in May 2019 in an interview with the members' magazine "Borussia", adding: "I learned a lot, especially when things weren't going well. I trained a lot, and I did it just for me. I wanted to keep working, improve my game and put what the coach was asking for into practice. That was important to me and it was interesting to see where it would lead, for me personally above all.
In 26 league games (19 starts, seven substitute appearances), he was directly involved in 15 goals in the 2018/19 season (seven goals, eight assists) – more than twice as many as in the two preceding seasons combined. In his 16 games in the first half of the season alone, he was involved in eleven goals (six goals, five assists). Götze ran an average of 12.1 km per game and had 25 sprints per game – both outstanding amounts.
He has moved around a lot in his life. Born in Memmingen, he moved to Houston (Texas) when he was kindergarten age because his father had been given a research grant there. A year and a half later, they returned to Memmingen. He scored his first goals at SC Ronsberg. Then, for work reasons, the family had to move again: his father Jürgen became a professor of data technology at the Technical University of Dortmund.
At the age of six, Mario Götze joined Hombrucher SV, who were involved in the field of young talent. Three years later, in 2001, he moved to the Borussia Dortmund academy. In two consecutive years, he was awarded the prestigious gold Fritz Walter Medal from the DFB for the best U17 and U18 player.
On 21 November 2009, at the age of 17 years and 171 days, he made his Bundesliga debut in the 0-0 draw against Mainz 05 and got his first full cap for the national team on 17 November 2010. At 18 years of age, he was thus the youngest national player since Uwe Seeler. "At the age of 17, I was thrown in at the deep end. I experienced a lot very quickly at a very young age." He has won the German league five times, the cup four times and – as already mentioned – scored the "golden goal" in the 2014 World Cup final. After three years at Bayern Munich, he returned to BVB in the summer of 2016.