Mario Goetze’s return to Borussia Dortmund is a done deal. After three tough years at Bayern Munich, where he could never meet the high expectations set for him, the 24-year-old now says he regrets his decision to leave his boyhood club.
"When I transferred from BVB to Bayern in 2013, it was a conscious decision that I don’t want to hide from today. Three years later, and being 24 now, I look at my choice differently," Goetze wrote on his Facebook page.
"I can understand that a lot of fans couldn’t comprehend my decision. And I wouldn’t do it over again. When I now return to my home, I want to win over everyone — especially those who won’t welcome me back with open arms — through my performance. It’s my goal to play my best soccer again. For everyone, the club and the BVB fans."
Article continues below ...
Goetze left Dortmund unceremoniously in 2013 when his transfer to Bayern was announced just days before that year’s Champions League final between the two rivals. He had won two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup with Dortmund, and was one of the most highly touted talents in Europe when Bayern snatched him up for €37 million.
But though Goetze actually played just two fewer games and even scored five more goals at Bayern than he did at Dortmund, he never seemed to get comfortable. Starts were hard to come by and his chances mostly came against lesser opposition. For the really big games Goetze always found himself on the bench, and when Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman arrived at Bayern last summer and quickly passed him on the pecking order, the writing was on the wall.
Now, Goetze has a chance to get his career back on track where it all started for him. Whether he will do so or not, the question will always follow him: what if he never left?