Former Dortmund idol Mario Gotze caused huge controversy when it was announced that he was to leave Jurgen Klopp’s men for Bayern Munich towards the end of last season.
The 21-year-old’s debut season at the Allianz Arena has had its ups and downs, with the vast array of talent in the attacking positions regularly keeping the youngster out of the starting XI.
Pep Guardiola has often been questioned over Gotze’s lack of game time, yet whilst Bayern Munich were away in Morocco on the way to winning the World Club Cup, the former Barcelona tactician has found a new way to use Bayern’s big summer signing.
Gotze started Bayern’s tough away game at Borussia Monchengladbach in an unfamiliar central striking role, yet put in a wonderful performance as he took seven shots, played two key passes and opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
Pep Guardiola has been credited for the way in which he turned Messi into the ‘false number 9’ goal machine that he is today, and it looks like Mario Gotze could well be used in a similar manner. However, Guardiola’s use of Gotze hasn’t gone down well with honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, who said:
"Bayern is wasting Gotze's talent, Guardiola is not doing him any favours, putting him in front of two wall where he can't get the ball, It would be better to put him behind a forward, he is much more dangerous in that position."
Whilst the Bayern legend may believe that Gotze is more dangerous behind a proper striker, it is always helpful to be able to shuffle the players around to suit each specific game.
Bayern Munich’s Champions League opponents Arsenal have experienced and ultimately been tortured by Pep Guardiola’s use of Lionel Messi.
The best player in the world was instrumental in knocking out Arsene Wenger’s men in successive Champions League campaigns, netting four times on one special night in Barcelona – a performance Arsene Wenger hailed as ‘complete’.
As a result of Arsenal’s heavy defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool, Pep Guardiola will probably favour the ‘false number 9’ system – one which will put Koscielny and Mertesacker’s defensive ground play to the ultimate test.
image: © jiazi