Everybody remembers Mario Götze's extra-time goal which earned Germany victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final against Argentina, but that was only one of many memorable moments in the career of one of Jürgen Klopp's most decorated students, who is back in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt.
bundesliga.com has selected the top 10 moments in Götze's career – so far.
1) THAT World Cup-winning goal
Where better to start than with the moment that will inevitably always spring to mind first when thinking about Götze. Just seven minutes remained of a tight and tense 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium, the deadlock seemingly unbreakable. Lionel Messi had tried to weave his magic for Argentina, but Germany repelled him as the lottery of a penalty shoot-out seemed certain to determine the world champions.
Only a moment of genius could change the game's destiny, and while most eyes were trained on Argentina's six-time Ballon d'Or winner to provide it, Götze sent jaws dropping at the other end of the field. Andre Schürrle burst down the left wing and delivered a cross which still left work to do in front of the Argentina goal. Quicker than you could scream the word 'shoot!', Götze chested the ball down and, in one smooth stroke, volleyed it past Sergio Romero. A killer move, timed to deadly perfection to earn Germany their fourth World Cup triumph, and render Götze immortal.
2) European champion, aged 16
Götze already knew what it was like to win a trophy representing his country, having inspired Germany's U17s to European glory on home soil in 2009. Already shining in Borussia Dortmund's U17s, the technically gifted youngster captained his country on several occasions prior to the final tournament, in which he scored once in a 4-0 group stage win over England.
Although he did not find the back of the net in the final against the Netherlands, it was not for the lack of trying. His dizzying trickery and cunning ability to be decisive in extra-time – notice a trend already? – came to the fore as he earned a free-kick on the edge of the Dutch penalty area, and Florian Trinks fired it into the top corner to earn Germany the title. Götze, meanwhile, was named in UEFA's squad of the tournament.
3) Gold medallist
Go back even further in Götze's career and you will come across another winner's medal, the Fritz Walter medal for excellence at U17 level. Each year, the German Football Association (DFB) selects three players who have shone in their age group and ranks them. In 2009, it was the turn of Götze to be named Germany's brightest U17 talent, earning the gold medal ahead of Reinhold Yabo and a certain Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
He earned it not purely for his influential exploits at the U17 Euros, but also for inspiring Dortmund to the final of the DFB Youth Cup and the U17 league championship play-off final. A year later, the DFB's gold medal at U18 level also found its way into his collection.
4) Bundesliga debut, aged 17
A goalless draw between Dortmund and Mainz on 21 November 2009 was largely remembered for being Klopp's first game as BVB coach against his former club. Amidst all his personal emotion of reacquainting himself with a club where he had spent 18 years as a player and then coach, Klopp ensured Götze would feel some tingling sensations of his own by handing him his Bundesliga bow.
Aged 17 years and five months, Götze became, at the time, Dortmund's ninth youngest debutant in Germany's top flight when he replaced Jakub Blaszczykowski for the final few minutes. US pair Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic have since pulled on a Dortmund shirt at an even younger age, but Götze remains one of the most precocious talents the Westphalian club have ever produced.
5) Priceless champion
With six goals and 16 assists, Götze was an integral member of Klopp's 2010/11 Bundesliga champions, so much so that what would have been a club record transfer fee was turned down from English Premier League club Arsenal that summer.
The Gunners reportedly put €40 million on the table for the still 19-year-old, but in a show of Dortmund's ambition, they turned it down. Götze thus did not become the most expensive German transfer of all time (at the time), but rather stayed on to lift a second successive Bundesliga title together with Klopp and Co., and extend his contract until 2016. Before turning 20, Götze already had two Bundesliga titles, one DFB Cup and was the talk of European football.
Watch: Mario Götze, Jürgen Klopp and the class of 2011 celebrate past glories
6) Munich move
Understandably, being both the most talented player on the planet, and in possession of a German passport, Götze had caught the attention of Bayern Munich. Another magical moment in the Memmingen-born forward's career was being conceived while he diligently set about raising his own game to another level.
He assisted – in a literal sense – Dortmund's march to the final of the UEFA Champions League, setting up eight goals on the way, and posted career-best stats in the Bundesliga, with 10 goals and 12 assists. Behind the scenes, that dream move back to his home state of Bavaria was taking shape and the lid simply could not be kept on it, with the deal announced just hours before the semi-finals of the Champions League. Götze finally became the most expensive German transfer, joining the European champions and their new coach Pep Guardiola in the summer of 2013.
7) Humble hero
For all of Götze's memorable on-field moments, some of his off-field achievements never quite reached the radar. That was his own choice, however. Since winning the World Cup, Götze increased his involvement in a range of charitable organisations, though few caught wind of it. "I do this to help people and not for the resonance it would cause," he told the DFB's website. "I really love doing it, but not making a big fuss over it."
While everybody could see and appreciate Götze's 10 goals and nine assists in his first season for Bayern, few were aware of the even greater impact he was having away from the game, including raising €2 million by auctioning off the left boot with which he scored that memorable World Cup-winning goal. Alongside his many memorable moments, his covert charitable work is even worthier of applause.
In a similar vein, Götze showed his heart is in the right place when he celebrated one of his best ever goals with a particular dedication. After dribbling his way through the ranks of Hannover defenders, and admittedly getting a stroke of luck with the finish, Götze peeled away and lifted his shirt to show the number 17 and the name Dede.
"I knew it was his last season (…) I was so happy for him because he'd helped me so much," Götze told BVB TV. The Brazilian defender spent 13 seasons with Dortmund, accruing 322 appearances and nurturing Götze as he came through the ranks. That was not lost on the attacking midfielder, who made a point of paying tribute to his teammate in 2011.
Watch: All of Götze’s Bundesliga goals
9) Being Mario Götze
Let's face it, being Mario Götze must be quite memorable, and the level of interest and curiosity about one of the most talented footballer's Germany has ever produced made a TV spin-off inevitable. A documentary, produced by DAZN in Germany in 2018, dug deeper than ever into the life of the outstanding footballing talent.
Over four episodes, Götze laid bare the story of his life – up to the age of 26 – and explained his own feelings in the moments and decisions which defined him. Winning five Bundesliga titles and a World Cup may sound like a dream, but a lot of hard work – and suffering – accompanied those highs. Thanks to DAZN's four-part series, the innermost feelings of a footballer and celebrity were revealed.
10) Baby joy
One of the most memorable moments in anybody's life is the birth of a child, and for Götze and his wife Ann-Kathrin it was no different. In fact, for their son Rome Götze, it was a moment he could not wait any longer for as he was born seven weeks premature on 5 June 2020.
Italy's Eternal City was not the direct inspiration for his name, as Ann-Kathrin revealed, though the peculiarity of naming their child after Italy's capital city appealed to both mother and father after Mario came up with the idea. You wonder if Rio Götze was mooted earlier to mark the scene of the family's greatest moment.
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