Mario Götze's Bayern Munich career has finally come to a close. What are people going to remember most?
Maybe it is the six titles – five German titles – he won while he was in Munich. Maybe it will be the 36 goals and 24 assists he collected at Bayern that people will google after finding out he is moving back to Dortmund. Maybe it's the World Cup winning goal he scored while he was still a Bayern player. Maybe it is the #PartofGoetze hashtag he pushed as he tried to market himself like a superstar.
What many people know is that Götze did not become the player he, Bayern and many others thought he would be when he ditched his childhood club to move to the powerhouse of Germany. He did not disrupt the established pecking order Bayern have had since 2010, and he therefore did not get the playing time he hoped he would get. Here are some of the important numbers from Götze's Bayern career that prove that, well, his move to Bayern may not have been the right move.
36 – goals scored in a Bayern shirt
Well... this is a number anyone can easily find (as previously mentioned), but the number is important. Götze's time at Bayern was less than ideal, but it may be misguided to call his career at Bayern a complete failure. The 36 goals he scored was five more than he scored in three-plus years with Dortmund, and while goals is not a necessary indicator of success, an average of nine goals a season does not happen by accident. Götze had a lot of potential when he came to Bayern, and 36 goals proves he showed at least some of it.
However, it is noteworthy that 32 of his 36 goals occurred in matches that he started. The problem is, he only started in less than three quarters of his appearances for Bayern and only started just over half of Bayern's games during his three years in Munich. It is hard for a footballer to score goals when he is not playing, and Götze simply did not play enough to make more of an impact than his 36 goals.
16 – starts where Bayern were not playing with a "recognizable striker"
More specifically, Götze had 16 starts in which he did not also start with either Robert Lewandowski, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro. Many assumed Götze would bring Bayern into the "false 9" age of football, though some would argue when he did play up top he did play as a center forward. Without a doubt, Guardiola put him at the top of his formation, but that tactic did not appear to be very favorable for the former Bayern coach.
That number also reflects the fact that Götze did not make a flexible approach as desirable as tactical dreamers thought it would. Having a striker in the squad limited the possible roles Götze could fill, blocking more opportunities for him to get into the starting XI. One has to wonder if Götze was brought in to play in a certain system, and once that system was no longer effective, his effectiveness dropped significantly.
64.8 – minutes per appearance
Götze tallied 114 appearances in his Bayern career. That is a strong tally for those who scoff at his complaints for more playing time. However, most of those appearances came off the bench – his 84 starts with Bayern is nine less than he made in three-plus seasons in Dortmund's first team. In only 42 of those 84 starts did he go a full 90 minutes (or played into extra time) in his three years, just two more such appearances than Lewandowski had last season. Here is how his 64.8 minutes-per-minutes stacks up against the other players Bayern have acquired in the last three years:
A backup goalkeeper, a failed academy product, a squad player and a pointless acquisition are the only players to average less minutes per appearance than Götze, a player who remains tied for Bayern's second most expensive acquisition. Guardiola never committed to Götze the same way he committed to other acquisitions Bayern made in his tenure, even when the midfielder was on the field.
84 – games Götze and Thomas Muller were on the field at the same time
Having two young German internationals in the same attack was a dream for the FC Bayern Germany crowd, the same kind of dream they will have when Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng finally take the field as club mates. However, in Götze's three years at Bayern, he only played at the same time as Müller in half of Bayern's games. That number includes the mere 10 games in which the two played simultaneously last season.
Now, one of course has to account for the injuries Götze had while at Bayern, especially the groin strain that kept him out for most of last season. Even so, two players that are supposed work well together should be playing with each other more than Götze and Müller did. Add in the fact that on eight occasions, one player came on for the other – oftentimes Götze for Müller. Perhaps those two players cannot coexist since they thrive best in very similar positions, and one of their careers was bound to suffer because of it.
0 – games started in Champions League semifinals
In his last season with Dortmund in 2012/13, Götze started all but two matches in the Champions League. Once could therefore say he was instrumental to Dortmund reaching their second ever Champions League final. He was not nearly as significant with Bayern in the Champions League, and the fact that he did not start a single match in the three Champions League semifinals Bayern played in the Guardiola era reflects that.
The 2014 semifinal against Real Madrid made a little more sense; Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben were both fit and close to their best, and Mandzukic was still in favor. Götze's absence in the 2015 semifinal was a little more perplexing, for Guardiola seemed to favor a diamond midfield rather than give the attacking midfielder a chance. By this year's semifinal against Atlético Madrid, he was already out of favor, and Coman seemed to be the more favorable spark of the bench. All the other 110 appearances he made became insignificant once he was excluded from Bayern's key games.
€37 million – buyout clause Bayern activated to acquire him from Dortmund
Of all the numbers in his Bayern career, most will remember this one most prominently. He remains the most expensive German player Bayern have ever acquired, and his career was far less significant than the player whose transfer record he beat to earn that designation – Mario Gomez. With the way that Bayern are spending now – €35 million (maybe more) for Renato Sanches, €37 million for Mats Hummels – Götze's transfer fee may become insignificant one day, but right now it is an expensive gamble that did not pay off.