Mario Gotze’s first spell at Borussia Dortmund was a colorful prelude to that goal that he scored for Germany at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2014. From 2009-2013, Gotze was one of Dortmund’s most promising young talents among a Dortmund team that defied odds under Jurgen Klopp to win the Bundesliga title in 2011 and 2012, as well as the DFB-Pokal in 2012.
Gotze did, however, make the decision to transfer from Dortmund to Bayern in 2013 and his time with Die Roten wasn’t exactly covered in glory before he went back to Dortmund in 2016. His move to Bayern also wasn’t taken too well by a majority of Dortmund fans at the time. Even Klopp was upset with Gotze’s decision to leave Dortmund for Bayern, as Gotze had recently revealed in an episode of the “433: The Home of Football” podcast (via Sport Bild).
On the podcast episode, Gotze recalls Klopp and Dortmund’s front office not taking it to well when he told them he had made the ultimate decision to transfer to Bayern. “I told the trainer (Klopp), the managing director (Hans-Joachim Watzke) and the sports director (Michael Zorc) about it. They weren’t happy about it,” he revealed. At the time, Bayern had activated the €37 million release clause in Gotze’s Dortmund contract to sign him, which had made him the most expensive German transfer until Mesut Ozil transferred from Real Madrid to Arsenal for €50 million in the same year (2013).
In particular, Gotze could tell how agitated Klopp was by the move. “Maybe he understood me a little, he knew me, but in this situation he was very angry that I had made this decision,” he explained. Klopp has a solid track record of developing younger talents and helping them break through to that next level, just as he had done with both Gotze and Robert Lewandowski at Dortmund before he took a sabbatical and then became Liverpool manager.
Despite Klopp’s disappointment of losing Gotze to Bayern, the 29-year-old said that their relationship is still solid, and he’s truly grateful for the time spent working with him. “He helped me a lot. He made me a professional soccer player. He integrated me into the team very quickly. He meant a lot to me and still means a lot to me,” he said.