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Dortmund fall under spell of prodigy Götze

Published: Saturday 23 October 2010, 9.00CET
Mario Götze is only 18 but the attacking midfielder is making a name for himself with Borussia Dortmund, earning plaudits from former fans' favourite Karl-Heinz Riedle among others.

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Published: Saturday 23 October 2010, 9.00CET

Dortmund fall under spell of prodigy Götze

Mario Götze is only 18 but the attacking midfielder is making a name for himself with Borussia Dortmund, earning plaudits from former fans' favourite Karl-Heinz Riedle among others.

Name: Mario Götze
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Debut: 21/11/09 v 1. FSV Mainz 05
Position: Midfield
Nationality: German
Date of birth: 03/06/92

Captain of Germany's UEFA European Under-17 Championship-winning team in 2009, Götze has enjoyed a rapid rise since and it has only accelerated this term. The attacking midfielder made five league appearances in Dortmund's 2009/10 campaign, none of them lasting more than 16 minutes, but this season has started four of his seven Bundesliga outings and made four more appearances in the UEFA Europa League and German Cup.

Götze, whose family moved to Dortmund from Bavaria when he was six, has twice collected the prestigious Fritz Walter medal, the German Football Association's (DFB) award for the most promising young player. Not only does the player have to perform outstandingly on the pitch, but he also has to show flawless behaviour off it. Neither is a problem for Götze, who professes neither to drink nor smoke and is said to be very much down to earth.

The 1.71m youngster is noted for his remarkable composure on the ball. He is able to play the killer pass yet also brings a genuine goal threat, and, with a left foot just as strong as his right, has a versatility that allows him to play in several attacking midfield positions.

Dortmund have moved to tie him to a contract until summer 2014 and, in a bid to shield him from the mounting media attention, have forbidden Götze – who still lives at home – from giving any interviews for the time being. His older brother, Fabian, 20, was also at Dortmund but moved to 1. FSV Mainz 05 last season, where he plays for the B team.

Breakthrough game
FC Karpaty Lviv 3-4 Borussia Dortmund
16 September 2009, UEFA Europa League group stage

Götze scored twice in a dramatic encounter to help Dortmund secure a late victory in their opening Group J game. After a perfect one-two with Lucas Barrios, Götze gave his side a 2-0 lead, only to watch them surrender their advantage and fall 3-2 behind with 12 minutes to go. Barrios levelled with three minutes remaining, however, before playing a perfect through ball to Götze two minutes into stoppage time. The teenager held his nerve and, with a coolness beyond his years, sealed Dortmund's win.

He says:
"I have been living in Dortmund for 12 years. I feel well at home here, I get along nicely with my team-mates and the playing time is OK as well. I was delighted [at how good things are going] – and very much surprised."

They say:
"Mario is among the top talents in Germany. We are very pleased we could keep him here. We will surely enjoy having him here in the future."
Dortmund general manager Michael Zorc

"How old is Mario? Only 18 – that's madness. He saved us tonight."
Dortmund centre-back Neven Subotić after the Karpaty game

"He has good pace, is enormously creative and has outstanding technical skills. He is one of the biggest talents we have ever had."
Matthias Sammer, DFB sporting director

"In general, we do not have to worry about him being able to cope with all this now. He is a sound character. He is a down-to-earth guy."
Lars Ricken, head of Dortmund's youth development

"He is really very cheeky, as we say in German. He likes to go one-on-one, he doesn't have any respect of big names, he is looking for duels, and is then very clinical in front of goal. I think he is one of the greatest talents we have in Germany, Matthias Sammer said that also, and I hope he keeps his feet on the ground and develops further. It would be great if Borussia could hold on to him for a longer period."
Karl-Heinz Riedle, UEFA Champions League winner with Dortmund in 1997

Last updated: 17/11/10 13.59CET

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