Bayern move for Gotze maintains a tried and tested transfer policy
Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes hailed his side’s four goal rout of Barcelona on Tuesday evening as ‘extraordinary’ and few people would disagree with him. The manner in which the Bavarians, looking to banish the demons of last season’s Champions League Final defeat, dispatched the Catalans was stunning and left many people suggesting the result marked a seismic shift in the balance of European football.
Going into the game as slight favourites, Bayern could not have wished for a better result and have surely now done enough to reach their second successive final where they will face either Real Madrid or their bitter Bundesliga rivals, Borussia Dortmund.
Off the pitch on Tuesday, Bayern delivered a significant blow to Dortmund when it was announced 20-year-old Mario Gotze would join the newly-crowned league champions during the summer for a fee of £31.5 million, becoming the costliest German footballer in history.
For the last two seasons, Dortmund have been sitting atop of the Bundesliga, fielding a youthful side and drawing plaudits from all directions. This year has been different, as Bayern sit 20 points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side having conceded just 14 goals in the league this season.
The balance of power may be returning to Bavaria, and that notion was further supported when Bayern announced that Pep Guardiola would be replacing Jupp Heynckes at the end of the season. The former Barcelona boss made his reputation as a title-winning coach, but Bayern have now set about making their rivals weaker.
It’s a familiar strategy for Die Roten, who have regularly poached players from their title rivals. Shortly after Bayer Leverkusen were beaten in the Champions League final and had finished above Bayern in the league, Ze Roberto and Michael Ballack defected over to Munich – and they were followed by Lucio just two years later.
Other teams that have challenged Bayern at the summit of German football have also found that their players end up in Munich – Stuttgart won the league in 2007 and lost top scorer Mario Gomez to Bayern in 2009. Werder Bremen finished in the top three in four successive seasons before star striker Miroslav Klose made the move to the Allianz Arena.
Bayern’s idea of strengthening themselves at the same time as weakening the main opposition has been exhibited again as they have agreed to sign Dortmund’s star midfielder Gotze for a record fee.
The move has sent shockwaves through not only German football, but world football. Guardiola’s first addition for Bayern is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who has built a reputation for being one of the best young players in football.
Gotze has been linked with moves to Real Madrid, Barcelona and, somewhat ambitiously, Arsenal – but a surprise move to the already-crowned Bundesliga champions has materialised after his £34m release clause was activated.
The announcement of the transfer comes at a bad time for Dortmund, who face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night, and manager Jurgen Klopp is understandably upset that one of his prized assets is about to join their rivals, but also at the unwelcome distraction ahead of the crucial tie tomorrow night.
“It could have been timed better. I was told last night at 10pm that it had come out. I’ve known about it since a day after the Málaga game.
“Now I can say that time heals everything. It’s going to take a while, this news is not good for us. The timing of it is not ideal. Anybody can make their own minds up as to why it’s come out now, but it is out.
“The reason Gotze is leaving? He is the favorite transfer of Guardiola. So if it’s anyones fault it’s mine. I cannot make myself 15cm smaller and learn Spanish. Gotze wants to work with this
extraordinary coach that is Guardiola. I cannot preach football of quick transitions and now start playing Tiki Taka.”
An already simmering rivalry is set to be intensified with news of Gotze’s impending transfer, and Klopp’s disappointment will no doubt spur the 45 year old boss on to defy the odds and challenge Bayern for the title next season.