Goetze apologizes to Bayern Munich fans after loss to Barcelona
Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Gotze has issued an apology to the Bundesliga club's fans after he was seen smiling and joking with Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the end of his side's 3-0 defeat in Spain.
That game and the return leg at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday is currently dominating Bayern's thoughts as they prepare to host Augsburg this weekend, with the Bundesliga title already wrapped up. Gotze's gesture has only added to the frustration of Bayern's fans as they risk seeing their hopes of winning a double this season end.
"If anybody thinks that I am not bothered by this defeat, then they're barking up the wrong tree," Gotze said on his own website. "I was at least as disappointed as the fans and my team-mates were and I'm sorry if that didn't come across. I always give everything for this club."
That will be the case also this Saturday, should Germany's World Cup winner be picked by coach Pep Guardiola in what is likely to be a heavily rotated team selection. Several of Bayern's youth team players are on alert to make their debuts in a game Bayern simply cannot afford to dedicate their complete attention to, unlike their guests.
For Augsburg, a place in Europe next season is still at stake and they will be hoping to benefit from Bayern having wrapped up the title early to beat the Bavarians and continue what has been a remarkable story under coach Markus Weinzierl and director of sport Stefan Reuter.
"It's like in a film, there are always two in the lead roles and that's Weinzierl and Reuter here," said Halil Altintop to Kicker magazine. "They're doing a world-class job when you consider what possibilities they have at this club. The club have always been a dab hand at picking players not just based on their footballing ability, but also on their character.
"We've got some great lads without any egos who do all they can for this club."