Summary

  • Götze made first league appearance of 2016/17 on Matchday 5.
  • Germany international was given standing ovation when substituted.
  • Götze rejoined Dortmund from Bayern München in the summer.

When Mario Götze departed the action in the 71st minute of Borussia Dortmund's Matchday 5 meeting with SC Freiburg, it was no ordinary substitution.

The vast majority of the 80 thousand-plus crowd at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK joined almost as one in a round of applause for their No10 as he left the pitch – not a reaction the man himself had in any way been taking for granted come the end of the first Bundesliga shift back at his original football home.

“I'm very, very relieved. Happy with the win, the three points and the response when I was subbed off,” Götze said on the back of BVB's 3-1 victory, admitting, “I had been a bit worried about how it was all going to pan out.” Justifiably so, given the widespread acrimony the then-21-year-old wunderkind's initial move from Dortmund to arch-rivals FC Bayern München in 2013 had sparked among the club's vast army of supporters.

BVB beat SC Freiburg 3-1 at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Matchday 5.

As it transpired, his first competitive outing in yellow-and-black at the stadium for 1248 days went as well as he could have possibly have hoped for. Offering an appreciative thumbs-up to the famous 25,000-strong South Terrace as he bowed out against Freiburg, Götze subsequently acknowledged, “The fans' reaction was fantastic. It was an emotional moment.”

Thomas Tuchel was similarly relieved to be able to put the prodigal son's much-debated home re-baptism behind him. “An absolute majority of the crowd demonstrated of their solidarity,” said the head coach: “They're right behind Mario Götze already.” Tuchel is likewise confident that the scattered residual animosity towards Germany's 2014 World Cup final hero “will dissipate after another four or five games.” By which stage, Götze should be unequivocally back in the Signal Iduna Park fold.