Departing Götze in spotlight for Champions League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.04.2013
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Departing Götze in spotlight for Champions League

German footballer Mario Götze is starting perhaps the biggest game of a still burgeoning career; with the world now knowing this chapter is nearing its end. In summer, he's moving from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich.

Borussia Dortmund's fate in their Champions League semifinal first leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday is likely to hinge on the performance of Mario Götze.

This is a reality that the 20-year-old, already with 22 German games and five international goals to his name, must face most weeks.

But barely 24 hours after the announcement of his roughly 37-million-euro ($48.9 million) move from Dortmund to arch-rivals Bayern Munich, the pot's in danger of bubbling over.

Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp even saw fit in the pre-match press conference to issue a special appeal to Borussia Dortmund's fans on Tuesday, specifically asking to a deliver a kind of "Final Thought" reminiscent of the US talk show host Jerry Springer at the end of the difficult conference.

"Let's make it a really special evening, an absolute BVB evening, leave all of your negative thoughts at home. Come, give it everything, and let's beat Real Madrid," Klopp appealed to Dortmund's legendary supporters. "See you then; ciao!"

The departure of a star player - and one with the brightest of futures ahead of him - to Dortmund's domestic rivals Bayern Munich, who have already wrapped up this season's title and rather embarrassed Dortmund with their current squad, is a hammer blow. Dortmund do now have a healthy sum to invest in a bid to replace Götze, but for a youngster and product of the youth setup - a Dortmund resident since the age of three - to cross the great German divide must hurt.

Klopp even said on Tuesday that if anyone was to blame for Götze's departure, then it was him. The youngster, Klopp said, was a transfer target of incoming Bayern super-coach Josep "Pep" Guardiola; and Götze wanted to play for the Spaniard.

"I cannot shrink 15 centimeters and start speaking Spanish," Klopp quipped.

For several years, Götze was Klopp's prodigy - a player he helped introduce into the Dortmund setup as a teenager and who blossomed at Dortmund into one of football's brightest young stars. He will now try to write new chapters in Bavaria - but only after the biggest games of his career against Real Madrid.

After Bayern's 4-0 first leg against Barcelona on Tuesday, an all-German final is conceivable should Götze help to do the business with his soon-to-be-former teammates.