If Borussia Dortmund are to have any chance of overturning Bayern Munich’s two-point lead in their final three Bundesliga games, they are going to need Mario Goetze to be at his very best.
Written off by many after an exasperating sequence of muscular injuries, the scorer of Germany’s World Cup winning goal against Argentina in 2014 has bounced back in style this season.
Goetze, still only 26, has provided six goals and seven assists after winning the confidence of coach Lucien Favre and is once again looking like his old self. Dortmund will need him more than ever as captain Marco Reus will be suspended for two of their final three games following his sending-off in the 4-2 home defeat by Schalke 04 last Saturday.
To have any realistic chance of denying Bayern a seventh successive title, Dortmund will have to take maximum points from their remaining games, starting with their visit to ninth-placed Werder Bremen on Saturday.
They will also have to hope that Bayern lose at least one game — not likely on Saturday when the Bavarians host bottom-of-the-table Hanover 96 but a possibility when they visit third-placed RB Leipzig in their penultimate game. Goetze, raised at Dortmund and given his debut as a 17-year-old by Juergen Klopp, was once regarded as one of the top young talents in Europe.
At 22, he scored the only goal in the 2014 World Cup final but by that time he was already at Bayern Munich where, although far from a flop, he failed to hit the expected heights. He returned to Dortmund in 2016 but nine months later was sidelined for a metabolic disorder that was found to be causing muscle problems.