bundesliga

Super Mario Götze ready to begin Eintracht Frankfurt challenge against former side Bayern Munich

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Among the dozens of subplots to get excited about as the Bundesliga roars back into action this weekend will be Eintracht Frankfurt newcomer Mario Götze's return to face his former side Bayern Munich.

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Some six years after his departure from record champions Bayern, and just two years after he left Germany for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, Götze has returned to grace the Bundesliga with his slick skills, tactical intelligence and goal-getting know-how.

The 30-year-old's arrival at Eintracht offers fans of Die Adler even more reason to look forward to a season that promises so much. Not only are the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League winners hoping to improve on last season's showing in the Bundesliga, Oliver Glasner's men are also challenging for UEFA Supercup honours and will be keen to produce a solid showing in the UEFA Champions League group stages.

To that end, Frankfurt added plenty of strength over the summer with the likes of forwards Lucas Alario, Randal Kolo Muani and attacker Faride Alidou - among several others - all arriving to help with this season's push. However, it was the landing of former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern star Götze that created a different type of buzz down by the River Main.

Watch: All of Mario Götze’s Bundesliga goals so far

Excited Eintracht fans hoping to see touches of that Götze genius that helped to bring Dortmund the first of Die Schwarzgelben's back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2010–11 were left rubbing their hands in expectation for what might lie ahead after watching the midfielder's superb competitive debut for Frankfurt in the first round DFB Cup win against Magdeburg on Monday.

A 4-0 triumph at a packed MDCC-Arena produced a Götze masterclass, the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning goalscorer involved in his new team's first two goals and producing an overall display that saw him named Man of the Match.

That marker laid down, it sets things up nicely for Götze and Eintracht ahead of monster encounters against Bayern and European champions Real Madrid in the coming days.

"I'm looking forward to it," Frankfurt's new man said of a big week ahead. "[Friday represents a] first home game for me; a first Bundesliga match against Bayern. Yes, it'll be just fine," he explained with the tranquility that years of experience bring.

"It was important that we got off to a good start [with the victory in Magdeburg] and that we all get on well. Now we're looking forward to the Bundesliga and Real Madrid; these will be good games."

Mario Götze shows off his Man of the Match award after his competitive debut for Eintracht Frankfurt. - IMAGO/kolbert-press/Marc Niemeye/IMAGO/kolbert-press

Götze spent three seasons at Eintracht's Friday-night opponents, Bayern. Between 2013 and 2016, he scored 36 goals and provided 24 assists in 114 games in all competitions, yet injuries and a colossal competition for places among a multitude of midfield stars meant that he would never fully shine at the Allianz Arena, although he would leave Bayern with three Bundesliga and two DFB Cup winner's medals.

Speaking with French publication L'Equipe about his stay in Bavaria, Götze explained, "I think I should have taken more time. We [saw] it a little bit with Robert Lewandowski. He was in Munich from 2014 and the last two years [of his Bayern career] were even better than the first outstanding ones."

Eintracht's new No. 27 added: "When I look at Karim Benzema, I think [last season was] his 13th year at Real Madrid and he's playing his best football."

Götze spent three seasons in the red of Bayern Munich. - Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

After turning down the chance to join his former coach Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, Götze opted for a return to Dortmund, where he added DFB Cup and DFL Supercup honours to an impressive list of career achievements. Diagnosed with a metabolic illness during his time back at BVB, he nonetheless managed to surpass 200 appearances for the club and left for PSV having scored 45 times and assisted 61 goals across two spells with his boyhood outfit.

In many ways, PSV represented a fresh challenge and the new surroundings in the Netherlands helped Götze revive some of his fine past form. A winner of a Dutch Super Cup and the KNVB Cup in his two years in Eindhoven, the 63-time Germany international managed a total of 18 goals and 18 assists in 77 games for the Eredivisie ensemble.

Now back in the Bundesliga with Eintracht, there is a smile and an air of calm determination about the player whose experience and on-field mastery look set to provide a boon to Frankfurt's 2022/23 cause.

Watch: Jürgen Klopp and his Borussia Dortmund boys celebrate 2011 online!

“A lot of factors played a role in the switch," Götze said, in quotes appearing on Frankfurt's website. "The club, the passionate fans, Deutsche Bank Park, the Bundesliga and the talks with the people in charge [were all important].

"I’m looking forward to making Frankfurt the focal point in my life. From the stadium to the supporters to the city, everything is just to my liking. I’m really looking forward to my return to the Bundesliga, as well as the chance to play in the Champions League.”

"We’ve been lacking a player of his type; Mario’s technical ability will help our game enormously, particularly when we’re in possession against deep-lying opponents," Frankfurt sporting director Markus Krösche said of Götze's arrival at the club. "Moreover, he can showcase his strengths in virtually any attacking position, which gives us even more tactical variability."

New beginnings: Götze (c.) has settled in quickly with his new teammates at Eintracht. - IMAGO/Jan Huebner/IMAGO/Jan Huebner

Following Eintracht's DFB Cup win against Magdeburg on Monday, coach Glasner was amused that there were more questions from journalists relating to Götze than any other player who took part in the victory. "It just shows how important Mario still is in Germany," the tactician said with a smile.

Speaking about the player soon after his arrival in Frankfurt, Glasner explained, "We won’t gear our style of play towards Mario Götze or any other player, but we will integrate their strengths. Mario is someone who brings a lot of experience. That’s something we were looking at for our attack. I’m pleased that we’ve found someone in Mario who’s enthusiastic about our project."

And so, to Friday, and what will certainly be an emotional return for one of world football's iconic stars. With a total of 231 Bundesliga appearances under his belt and five top-flight winner's medals, Götze knows he has plenty to impart to those around him. "I want to be a role model for the young players and be there for them with advice and support; I’m always ready to help them," he said.

On the pitch, the one-time Golden Boy award winner wants, "to be a piece of the puzzle for the team, find gaps and make an impact on the game. Athletically, the most important thing for me is to be healthy and to play and perform at 100 per cent of my ability."

For the man who once fired Germany to a fourth World Cup title, showcasing that ability against Bayern and Real in one monumental week seems a suitable fit. Welcome back to the Bundesliga, Mario!