Mario Gotze’s Renaissance With PSV Is Showcasing His Best Form


Mario Gotze has been a sort of maverick name over the years in German football. Coming through Borussia Dortmund’s academy at the start of the previous decade, the World Cup winner soon went onto become a household name due to his performances.



His prolific partnership with Marco Reus saw a multi-million euros move to Bayern Munich. However, his time in Munich was dogged by poor form and injury concerns that led to his stock falling by quite a bit. A reunion with Dortmund in 2016, though positive, was rather underwhelming.



Gotze left in 2020 and has since been making waves in Dutch football with PSV. Having initially signed a two-year deal, he extended his stay till 2024 this summer. A lot of it has to do with how well he has been playing under manager Roger Schmidt with the 29-year-old being voted the UEFA Europa League Player of the Week today.



With one goal and one superb assist where he nutmegged two players in the buildup, Gotze has continued his great start to the season. He has racked up five goals and four assists across 12 games in all competitions.



So much for a “washed up” player whose best years were behind him. A lot of credit has to go to Schmidt and co. who have embraced the player wholeheartedly and kept the faith which is so crucial in rejuvenating careers. He has been a constant starter, with 24 from his total 25 appearances across all competitions last season. That yielded seven goals and six assists, his best return since the 2014-15 season when he made 32 featured 32 times.



Though he did have one more assist in the 2018-19 season, his years with Bayern were truly dismal. Courtesy of his hot start, Gotze is well on his way to better those figures this term. Furthermore, he also does his work defensively and is not shy from tracking back when necessary. With 8.43 progressive carries, 24.49 pressures and 1.95 tackles (all P90), Gotze currently remains in the high-90th percentile amongst players across Europe.



There was no doubt surrounding the capabilities of Gotze, even when he was going through lean spells. What has changed this time is his fusion of hardwork and putting in the yards with PSV.


Schmidt has been central to that given his experiences coaching across the world in Austria, Germany and China. He employs the 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 with Gotze in the role behind the central striker. However, given his fluid movement, Gotze can be found playing all across the pitch as he can drop onto the flanks and come deep to start attacks.


One of the main facets of Gotze’s gameplay has been the late runs that he makes into the box in order to give himself shooting chances. His shot on target % of 66.7 last season was the best since his debut year with Dortmund in 2016-17. Moreover, since he is not the paciest player in the team anymore, he has now adapted his style to dictate the pace of the match more as he can influence it well.



Furthermore, he was involved in 19 shot-creating actions in the Europa League with 3.68 P90 in 2020-21. Given the youthful nature of the Dutch side with the likes of burgeoning talents Noni Madueke and Cody Gakpo in attack, the German playmaker is a calming presence who knows how to get the game ticking as he showed last night.



Coming back to his superb outing against Real Sociedad, Gotze scored the game’s opening goal after showing great presence of mind to tap home a rebound. The second, as mentioned, was a beautiful through ball to Gakpo after a surging run past three opposition players.



Gotze created the most chances in the match (5) as well as completing all of his dribbles (3/3). Furthermore, he also won six duels and made three recoveries with him being very much the linchpin of the side whenever they attacked. His great start to the season has been also emboldened by a new contract which he signed after rejecting more lucrative ones this summer.



That just further goes to show how valued Gotze feels in this team and how much he is enjoying his football right now. The player looks to be getting back to his former self and he will continue to get chances to showcase his stuff. If he continues playing like this over next 12-18 months, there is no doubt that a return to the big boys is a very real possibility.


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