After three years with Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, Mario Götze has returned to Borussia Dortmund. The German international has signed a four-year contract.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund announced in a statement on Thursday that Götze had completed his return to BVB, after three seasons with the Bavarians.
"I personally am very happy that Mario has decided on Borussia Dortmund," CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke was quoted as saying in a Dortmund press release. "I always hoped ever since he left in 2013 that he would come back to us one day."
"Mario is from Dortmund, he is one of the strongest and most creative midfield players in Europe and he is only 24 years old," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. "He had many options open to him and he was aware that he did not make the easiest choice by returning to his hometown club."
German media reports have suggested Dortmund will give Bayern a transfer fee between 23 and 27 million euros ($25-30 million). The German international also penned a contract until June 2020; he will join the team in August after his vacation following the European Championship. Götze is currently vacationing with his old Dortmund buddy Marco Reus and fellow German international Andre Schürrle, reportedly another transfer target for BVB.
'Did not work out for him'
"When I transferred from BVB to FC Bayern in 2013, that was a conscious decision that I do not want to hide behind today," Götze was quoted as saying in Dortmund's statement. "Three years later and in the meantime I am 24 years old, I look at my decision back then in a different light. I can definitely understand that a lot of fans could not understand my decision back then. I would not make a decision like that again today."
Götze ends his three-year Bayern career with 36 goals and 24 assists. He made almost as many first team appearances for Bayern as he did for Dortmund - 114 to 116 respectively. However, Götze made nine more starts for Dortmund than he did for Bayern - 93 versus 84 - and that at a much earlier stage in his career's development. He'll surely look for more regular first team football back in Dortmund.
"Götze has been at Bayern for three years and it did not work out for him," Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sport. "I am not surprised that Götze wants to leave. He is 24 years old and needs to play regularly."
Though a groin injury limited Götze's availability with Bayern last season, he then struggled to break back into the team after recovering. And more generally, he had a habit of sitting out Bayern's biggest games throughout his years in Bavaria. He did not start once in any of Bayern's six Champions League semifinal games during Pep Guardiola's tenure, making just four substitute's appearances in the six legs combined.
"It was not a good situation for him here," Franck Ribery told German newspaper Bild after Bayern's friendly with Manchester City on Wednesday. "He had a few injuries and was not very self-assured. I wish him the best of luck."
Mkhitaryan's cyclical replacement
Götze's return comes just over two weeks after Henrikh Mkhitaryan departed Dortmund for Manchester United. The series of transfers is a mirror reflection of ones from 2013, when Mkhitaryan came in to Dortmund's squad from Shakhtar Donetsk after Götze made his more to Bayern.
Götze is the seventh player Dortmund have acquired in the transfer market this summer. He joins a mix of young attackers that now includes Emre Mor and Ousmane Dembele, as well as the latest rising star from within Dormtund's academy, Christian Pulisic.
Götze is now one of nine players that were part of the team Dortmund took to the Champions League final, following the departures of Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gündogan.