Speaking on a recent episode of the “kicker meets DAZN” podcast, former Borussia Dortmund defender Łukasz Piszczek highlighted Mario Götze’s departure from the club for Bayern Munich in 2013 as a big breaking point for what was a strong Dortmund side under Jurgen Klopp (Sport1).
Piszczek spent over ten years at Dortmund and played alongside Götze for seven years between his two separate tenures at the club on either side of his time at Bayern. To date, the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 Dortmund sides are the last to beat Bayern to the Bundesliga title, having also won the DFB-Pokal in 2012.
There is a narrative that’s attached to Bayern, especially amongst non-Bundesliga fans, that they routinely “poach” other club’s top talents, and Götze’s move from Dortmund to Bayern in 2013 was something that fueled said narrative. Along with Piszczek, he was one of the key players in that Dortmund side that won two consecutive Bundesliga titles over Bayern and Piszczek felt that him leaving for Bayern was a really breaking point in the team that also sent a signal that the team wouldn’t be able to stay together. “After three or four intensive years there was also a change in the team. Mario Götze went to Bavaria. I would say it was the biggest break in the team because it showed for the first time that we won’t stay the same team forever,” the defender explained.
Between his tenures at Mainz, Dortmund, and Liverpool, Klopp has a rich track record of working incredibly well with young talents as his man management is one of a kind. His ability to get the most out of his players from a relatively inexpensive squad was a huge part of what Dortmund so successful before they started to lose players like Götze. Retrospectively, Piszczek feels that there could’ve been continued success if the core of players at Dortmund would’ve stayed together, but it didn’t quite work out that way and they finished in 7th in the 2014/2015 season, which was Klopp’s final season before taking his sabbatical. “It was a shock for us too (Götze leaving), of course, because we thought what could happen to us if we keep playing football together? Everyone is responsible for their decisions. Mario wanted to switch to coach [Pep] Guardiola at the time,” Piszczek said.
The season after (2013/2014) Götze left to join Bayern, Dortmund still finished second behind Bayern in the Bundesliga, but Piszczek said that it was clear how much energy it took out of the rest of the squad as well as Klopp, especially since Robert Lewandowski left on a free transfer to join Bayern in the summer of 2014. Götze had recently opened about how disappointed Klopp was when he made the decision to leave Dortmund for Bayern.
The dismantling signs of what was an incredibly cohesive unit at Dortmund were starting to become clearly evident. “This intensive time cost all of us, including the trainer, a lot of energy and strength. I think that it had to be the case that it somehow broke. That was normal. But at the end of the season we qualified (the Champions League). It’s just a shame that the coach decided not to go any further,” Piszczek cerebrated.