Borussia Dortmund Are Better Without Mario Gotze
After a wonderful 2012-2013 season, Borussia Dortmund have lost their playmaker Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich for a transfer fee of €37 million. The loss of the German international was a big blow for Dortmund, but Juergen Klopp has made very good use of the money they received for Gotze.
He first signed Henrikh Mkhytarian from Shaktar Donetsk for €27.5 million. The Armenian midfielder isn’t quite the same player as Gotze, but he was the right man to replace the German international. Gotze is a no. 10 that can play on both wings or even as a false nine. He’s got pace, great movement on and off the ball, is very good in tight spaces and has got an eye for goal (he scored 10 goals in the Bundesliga last season).
Mkhytarian is also a no. 10 but he is more of a central player, isn’t as fast as Gotze (even though he’s far from being slow) but is a bigger threat in front of the goal. He scored 25 goals in 29 games last season with Shaktar. He’s exactly the goal-scoring midfielder Dortmund needed not to be too dependent of Robert Lewandowski, who might be leaving to Bayern in January.
Klopp’s second signing was Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang from Saint Etienne for €13 million. The French-born Gabonese international is a striker that can also be used as a right winger. His main assets are his speed (he runs 100 meters in 11 seconds flat) and his finishing (he scored 19 goals for Saint Etienne last season in Ligue 1). His versatility gives Klopp more tactical flexibility and will allow him to switch things up during games without necessarily having to use a substitute.
So far, he has adapted very well to Dortmund’s uptempo game.
Signing Mkhytarian and Aubameyang was great business, but signing them early in the transfer window was very important. Dortmund acted very quickly to make sure their two signings would be available by the time training started so they would have time to get used to Klopp’s collective game plan. After seven games, both Mkhytarian and Aubameyang have adapted really well and have respectively scored three and five goals in the Bundesliga.
Losing Gotze was a big blow for Dortmund, but they have smartly spent their money and made the team even stronger without him. Instead of trying to look for a player that looked exactly like him, they signed two players that both have some of his qualities. That gives Klopp more tactical flexibility but also more depth as they have now got two players for the price of Gotze.