Mario Goetze made German football history by scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final, but now the Brazil 2014 hero can not get a game at Bayern Munich.
A groin injury has restricted Goetze to just seven league appearances this season, but a month after making a full return to training, he has been kept on the bench for all of Bayern’s last five games.
He is yet to play a single minute in 2016.
Goetze’s goal from the bench at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium gave Germany a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina, but for the 23-year-old, winning the World Cup has been a golden highlight in three bleak seasons since joining Bayern from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2013.
Just 25 of Goetze’s 66 league appearances in three seasons at Bayern have been over the 90 minutes.
The attacking midfielder endured another 90 minutes on the bench at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park last Saturday in Bayern’s goalless draw at his former club in a top of the table clash.
Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says he feels “a bit sorry” to see Goetze become a feature on Bayern’s bench, but Munich coach Pep Guardiola simply insists he can not find a place for Germany’s World Cup hero.
“I have seven strikers and not everyone can play. This is sometimes hard for me,” said Guardiola when asked why he keeps leaving Goetze out.
Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, Douglas Coman, Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are clearly all ahead of Goezte in Guardiola’s pecking order.
Thiago Alcantara, Guardiola’s favourite in the attacking midfield position, also spent the entire Dortmund match on the bench as Guardiola played Arturo Vidal and Mueller behind his top-scorer Lewandowski, who has bagged 23 goals this season.
– ‘Clarify his future’ –
Goetze’s contract runs until June 2017 and with Guardiola set to depart for Manchester City at the end of the season, the midfielder has been urged to seek out his replacement Carlo Ancelotti to find out what his future in Munich holds.
“He needs to seek contact with Ancelotti and clarify his future,” ex-Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told Sky.
“He (Goetze) has little chance. Pep has decided that he wants to rely on other players.”
Guardiola insists the opposite is true.
He says he is simply avoiding rushing Goetze back from injury with Bayern still chasing silverware in the Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga.
“My opinion of him is high. He is a super player, very professional, who thinks of football 24-hours a day,” said Bayern’s coach.
“We have three months left to play and we need all our players. Mario was, and is, very important.”
With just over three months to go before the European championships in France, Goetze remains part of the Euro 2016 plans for Germany coach Joachim Loew.
“It’s normal that after a long injury break he can’t expect to make many appearances in the first few weeks. I can understand that,” Loew told Sky head of Germany’s home friendlies against England and Italy at the end of the month.
“Mario still needs a little time, but I am not worried about him in the build up to the European championships.”