By David Schafer, Dortmund season ticket holder
Despite your move to Bayern Munich being announced over a month ago, many Borussia Dortmund fans are still very upset. Being a passionate BVB supporter myself, I want to approach the subject with a more levelheaded perspective.
When Jan Age Fjortoft tweeted on the night of April 22 that Bild was going to break a major transfer story at midnight, I had an uneasy feeling which I couldn’t quite explain to myself. A few minutes later came the shock: Mario Gotze was going to Bayern.
After staring at my monitor in disbelief for a few seconds, I was overwhelmed by a sense of emptiness. It was just a rumour at the time but we all knew there had to be some truth to it. Then the confirmation from Dortmund arrived the next morning.
Disappointment | BVB fans have been left reeling by Gotze’s decision
At first, I just felt unbelievably disappointed. That you, my beloved Mario, had fled to our main rivals just seemed inexplicable to me. Ever since you celebrated a goal with Dede’s shirt, I truly believed that you identified fully with our club.
On the other had, I have to admit that I wasn’t that surprised. I had always known that you were longing for greatness, which could make you abandon values like loyalty or allegiance.
Many Dortmund fans regard your decision as a betrayal but it’s just the logical consequence of your ambition. Bayern have reached three of the last four Champions League finals and are set to become one of Europe’s best sides for years to come.
That, coupled with the appeal of working with a world-class coach like Pep Guardiola, means it’s understandable that you have decided against a move abroad and taken the controversial path towards the Allianz Arena. I am also sure the temptation of a €10 million annual salary made quite an impression on you.
|I usually follow the fortunes of former Dortmund players and I even occasionally enjoy it when they score against us. This will prove a tad difficult in your case
So, looking at all the facts, there is no reason for thousands of BVB fans to be so brokenhearted.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Football is ruled by emotions – more so than any other sport – and people from the Ruhr tend to develop particularly strong feelings for their clubs, which sometimes reaches worrying levels.
This Dortmund team have always given the impression that the ordinary rules of football do not apply to them. It felt like a group of friends pursuing a dream together, with money and glamour coming second to them.
People can point to the exits of Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin, but the former left Signal Iduna Park to pursue a dream, the latter departed in completely different circumstances.
Your decision felt different because you emerged from Dortmund’s youth academy. As your team-mate Mats Hummels pointed out, the Germany players at BVB shared the aim of taking the club to the next level.
“Hummels had always thought that the Germany players at BVB shared the aim to take the club to the next level”
Titles and trophies weren’t that important to Hummels since he wanted to be involved in something special. So the move to an established power like Bayern has never tempted him. This doesn’t seem to be the case for you, but I cannot hold that against you as everybody is different.
Your youth combined with the influence of your agent and your Bavarian roots will have been the most influential factors.
And yet, I cannot deny a feeling of disappointness. Dortmund’s last three seasons can confidently be described as fairytale-like but the departure of one of our homegrown talents has taken the gloss off the story.
I can imagine that many BVB fans feel like they have woken up from a beautiful dream. What makes me particularly sad is your lack of remorse towards your current fans.
You knew that a move abroad would have had a different effect but you have robbed yourself of the farewell you deserve. After the last home game of the season, only Patrick Owomoyela said his goodbyes – a wise decision by the club, considering the current mood.
You owe Dortmund a lot but the club also owes you a debt of gratitude.
And so all that remains for me is to thank you for these three amazing years. It was a pleasure to watch you play football at the most beautiful stadium in the world. You were one of the defining figures of my time as a fan.
When you don a Bayern jersey next season, it will feel wrong and I will look on with misery as you continue to mesmerise the Bundesliga.
Unlike other supporters, I won’t join the chorus of whistles that undoubtedly await you when you return to Dortmund. I know that you made an understandable decision for a 20-year-old with very little experience of life.
I had hoped that you would be fit in time to feature against Bayern at Wembley on Saturday so that we could have shared one last wonderful moment together. Who knows how much a winning goal would have made up for your decision?
However, I wish happiness for you and your family in Munich. I usually follow the fortunes of former Dortmund players and I even occasionally enjoy it when they score against us. This will prove a tad difficult in your case.