When the news of Mario Götze’s move the Bayern Munich broke some people were defending his choice and others lambasted it. I’m firmly placed in the latter camp. It’s not just a move to another, and bigger, club. It’s betrayal.
Borussia Dortmund have won the German league title two years in a row, and now they’re in the Champions league final. They have a huge stadium, which is sold out almost every time. They have fan culture, youth, success, and a healthy economy – and still they must see one of their stars move to Bayern Munich.
Bayern is a big and prestigious club, and it’s perfectly understandable that most players would like to play in a such a club. They can also pay quite the wages. But Götze does not come from a small provincial side. He does not come from a small football country. He does not come from somewhere where he doesn’t have the possibilities to win titles or to be recognized as one of the game’s greats. He comes from the twice German champions and the possible winners of the UEFA Champions League.
If Dortmund, and with them all well managed clubs with a lot of fans, shall hope to ever truly upset and even change the order of European football, it might not be imperative that they keep each and every good play they have. But selling a local boy, a star, years before he had the chance of becoming an icon is a sign of battles lost before they are even engaged. It’s not as much the club’s fault as it is the lackluster morals of Götze. Sorry. Normally I’m all for live and let live and do what though whilst, but leaving Dortmund for Bayern at this stage is shady to say the least.
Dortmund is in a position where the club can hope, not only to win the CL trophy in three weeks, but also challenge for national and continental success for years to come. They might even have the chance to rise into the absolute top level of clubs, that only the oil barons’ toys of Chelsea and Manchester City have succeeded to penetrate in the last decade or so. Götze’s move, which is indicating that he all along has seen Dortmund as a stepping stone rather than a goal in itself, undermines these hopes. We don’t know if it will lead to an immediate drop in performances for the black and yellow, but it is a chunk of spit in the face of every Dortmund fan who had hopes for their club to emerge as a real European top club.
Bayern’s purchase of Götze is not only good for their team. It’s showing every other German club that they might try to compete for a year or two, but that every hope and every effort will be in vain in the long run. The mental hit taken by Dortmund is the worst. And they share that hit with every club around the world which aspires to become a steady part of the top. The conservative, capitalistic, cold embrace of the leviathan that is the organization of football in Europe is squeezing the hopes out of not just the meek but also the almost mighty.
I like that some clubs are bigger than others and that some clubs’ mothers are bigger than other clubs’ mothers. I don’t, however, like that it’s almost impossible for even big clubs with huge fan bases and good economy to establish themselves in the very top. Mario Götze moved to the worst rivals (apart from Schalke I guess) and took the hopes of thousands with him. Not because he is THAT good, but because his act is symbolic.
The only thing that might ease the anger of the Dortmund fans is that there will forever be a scent of betrayal tied to Götze’s name. He might win everything with Bayern, but he’s still a mercenary fighting his own – with whom he could have won everything as well. It’s a lesson to be learned. Not only in Germany, but also in Italy and everywhere else.
Photo by Fanthomas (2)