Getty Images

Mario Gotze rejoins Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich

3 Comments

He’s back.

Mario Gotze, 24, has rejoined Borussia Dortmund after leaving them for Bayern Munich in 2013.

[ MORE: Allardyce to England ]

Gotze has signed a four-year deal with Dortmund and the transfer fee is believed to be $28.6 million.

The German international playmaker made his name for Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp as they won back-to-back Bundesliga title and then made the final of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League.

Gotze didn’t play in that final through injury and before the semifinal against Real Madrid news broke that Bayern had met the release clause of $40 million in his contract.

Now he is switching the Allianz Arena for the Westfalenstadion and it is a homecoming for the BVB academy product.

In a statement on their website, Dortmund had the following to say about the deal:

“I am personally very pleased that Mario has decided to Borussia Dortmund. I have, since his departure in 2013, always hoped that he will one day return to us, “said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.

The German international admitted it may take some Dortmund fans some time to come around to the idea of him heading back to the Westfalenstadion.

“When I switched from BVB to Bayern in 2013. That was a conscious decision behind I will not hide myself today,” Gotze said. “Three years later, I look with different eyes at my former decision. I can well understand that many fans could not understand my decision. I would not even take it so today. When I return to my home, I want to all people – especially those who do not receive me with open arms – to be convinced by my performance. My aim is to play again my best football. For all of us, the club and the BVB fans. “

Gotze was part of a dynamic Dortmund attack assembled by Klopp as he played alongside Robert Lewandowski and close friend Marco Reus.

Since moving to Bayern he had an up and down time under Pep Guardiola. In 2015-16 he appeared in just 21 total games, scoring six times, but during his time with Bayern he scored 36 in 114 games, compared to his 31 goals in 116 games for Dortmund in his first spell.

Now Gotze and Reus are reunited, Dortmund’s coach Thomas Tuchel has a big-time replacement for Henrikh Mkhitaryan who they sold to Manchester United earlier this summer. Dortmund have also added Ousmane Dembele, Sebastian Rode, Rahael Guerreiro, Emre Mor, Marc Bartra and Mikel Merino to bolster their squad following the sale of Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan. Tuchel has also made a $55 million on those deals, which is very good business as Dortmund aim to make a splash in the Champions League and challenge Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich for the title.

Gotze is best known for famously jumping off the bench and scoring the winning goal for Germany in extra time of the 2014 World Cup final and he will now look to recapture the form which saw him become one of Europe’s best playmakers.

With Lewandowski, Gotze and now Hummels heading to Bayern from Dortmund, is this the beginning of the conveyor belt being put in reverse? Probably not, but it is still nice for Dortmund’s fans to see one of its favorite sons return with his best years still in front of him.

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

Photo by Andreas Schaad/Bongarts/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.