Germany’s World Cup final hero Mario Gotze was always destined to write his name into footballing folklore, according to a former youth team coach of his.
Exactly a year ago, after 90 goalless minutes at the Maracana in Brazil, Gotze popped up with the decisive extra-time strike in a 1-0 victory against Argentina as Germany won their fourth World Cup.
Up to that point in his career, Gotze had won three Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal medals in spells with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Michael Jager, a coach of Gotze during his time at Eintracht Hombruch, remembers spotting the Bayern star’s talent early on.
“You could already see that he was very talented,” he told Spox.com. “You couldn’t say [for sure] if he would play in the Bundesliga, but he was one of the best players and you could see that he could become very good.
“The final of the World Cup was very intense for me. Especially when Gotze was subbed in and scored the goal in overtime. That was fantastic, I got goosebumps.”
After winning the World Cup, Gotze was perceived by some to have failed to hit his usual lofty standards during a 2014-15 campaign that saw Bayern once again win the Bundesliga.
However, Helmut Albat – who Gotze worked with at SC Ronsberg – believes the 23-year-old needs more minutes on the pitch.
“He was noticeable [at a young age]. He was two years younger than the others, already had a good technique and passed the ball in front of the goal. You don’t see that very often,” he said.
“He has a hard time right now, many people are criticising him. How can you criticise someone who only plays five minutes?
“You cannot say that he is bad when he only gets to play very few minutes. I don’t like what is happening right now. The club isn’t standing beside him and the press is very hard to him.”