Borussia Dortmund – Highs & Lows of Mario Gotze

It’s easy to see why Mario Gotze is considered to be such an exceptional talent, but through the same 87 minutes he was on the pitch for Dortmund in their win against Real Madrid, you could see his faults and shortcomings he needs to overcome on his way to become one of football’s biggest stars.

Gotze is a special talent. He has magic in his feet and when he finally shook off Xabi Alonso from him, it was easy to see how much better he makes Dortmund with his movement, passing and dribbling. His combination with Marco Reus can be an exciting thing to watch at times, although like the play of both of them, it lacks consistency.

Gotze is different than Reus and the rest of the Dortmund side in his work rate. One of the thing that made Dortmund that good over the last couple of years was the cohesion of the unit built by Jurgen Klopp. A great goalkeeper and ten players who don’t stop running, defending and attacking together. There was no wonder, with a system this strong, that Dortmund had no problem getting over Gotze’s injury last season and the departure of Nuri Sahin, replacing him with Ilkay Gündogan.

Gotze is of different ilk, so to speak. He doesn’t work as hard as the rest, and doesn’t defend most of the time with the rest of the team. Their striker, Lewandowski, does more defensive work than he does. Even on these kind of united teams, you need one special gem to stand out and play a bit differently. Be free to create counter attacks and hold up play when needed.

But there comes the problem of Gotze’s approach and occasional arrogance when in certain situations. A big fan of the extravagant, he often tries something too complicated and too “genius” like for the rest of the team to follow or for even himself to execute. At other times it’ll be an attempt to do something clever instead of doing the direct, accurate thing. Like his opportunity in the second half, shooting with an open left foot while trying to look in the other direction, misleading Casillas. The shot was too weak, too into the middle, which Casillas easily parried.

There have been a few problems for Dortmund early on this season in Germany, part of it is their bigger focus on succeeding on the European stage, and the difficulty of handling both fronts like Bayern Munich. Subotic’s form, injuries to Gundogan and still trying to get over the departure of Shinji Kagawa. Mario Gotze is part of that inconsistency, but he’s going to be something great staying on this path. At only 20, there’s plenty of time to perfect and erase what’s wrong on the disc.

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