The German midfield maestros are the key creative players at their respective club sides, and are part of a mouth-watering midfield for their national team. The respective Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid No10s both occupy the space ‘between the lines’, causing havoc between the opposition’s midfield and defence. They create chances for their team-mates and weigh in with some goals of their own from time to time.
With their UEFA Champions League semi-final heavily weighted in Borussia Dortmund’s favour after a thrilling 4-1 win in Germany, FIFA.com takes a look at some of the standout statistics involving the pair.
Ozil: 24 (DOB: 15 October 1988)
Gotze: 20 (DOB: 3 June 1992)
As Mario Gotze made his debut for the German national side back in 2010, he became the youngest German international since the legendary Uwe Seeler. He also became the joint-youngest German goalscorer in the post-war era for Germany when he grabbed his first Nationalmannschaft strike against Brazil in August 2011 aged 19 years and 68 days. Like Gotze, Ozil rose through the various German youth teams before making his full debut in 2009.
Interestingly, when Mario Gotze and Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle came on simultaneously to make their international debuts in 2010, they became the first players to play for the full national side who were born in a reunified Germany.
Ozil won his first, and so far only, domestic league title as Real Madrid were crowned La Liga champions in 2012 in his second season with Los Blancos. He added the league to the Copa Del Rey and Supercopa trophies he had already picked up in Madrid, while he won just one trophy in his four years in Germany - a DFB-Pokal cup triumph with Werder Bremen in 2009. In fact, Ozil has been the bridesmaid on a number of occasions, losing five cup finals in his club career and finishing as a league runner-up twice (once at Real Madrid and once at Schalke).
In contrast, Gotze has already won two league titles with Borussia Dortmund and he completed a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2012. Both had a successful summer in 2009 with their national sides, with Gotze securing the UEFA U-17 championship and Ozil winning the UEFA U-21 championship.
Combined UEFA Champions League goals and assists (2012/13):
Ozil: 5 (1 goal, 4 assists) (632 minutes on pitch)
Gotze: 7 (2 goals, 5 assists) (873 minutes on pitch)
Gotze might have provided more goals for his team in terms of providing the key pass for team-mates and scoring himself, but the pair’s record is actually very similar if their time on the pitch is taken into account. Ozil has spent just over ten and a half hours on a Champions League pitch this season, while Gotze has played close to 15 hours of European domestic football. Ozil contributes a goal or assist every 126 minutes, while Gotze’s key contribution average stands at one every 124 minutes.
Almost all of Ozil’s Champions League goals or assists this season have come against Dortmund, with the Real Madrid man grabbing three assists and one goal against the German side in the group stages. Gotze on the other hand saved himself for the knockout stages, registering an assist in last week’s semi-final, first leg, while Ozil managed neither a goal or a key final pass.
Total transfer fees:
Gotze became the most expensive German player of all time after the announcement of his summer move to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich became public days before last week’s semi-final. Incoming coach Pep Guardiola made Gotze his number one target, and he got his man after the Bavarian giants met the reported €37m release clause in the playmaker’s contract.
Ozil was the second-most expensive German player when he moved to Madrid for €18m in 2010, having transferred from Schalke to Werder Bremen for €5m earlier in his career.
Games played together for Germany:
16: (Friendlies: 7, competitive games: 9)
Since Mario Gotze made his international debut in November 2010, the German national side have played a total of 30 matches. Ozil and Gotze have played in the same match on just 16 occasions, meaning that they have played together in just over half of the available matches since the Dortmund man’s debut. Since UEFA EURO 2012, the Nationalmannschaft coach Joachim Low has begun to play the mercurial playmakers in the same game more often – of the nine games Germany have played since they bowed out of the tournament, they have played six matches together.
Ozil left the Bundesliga just as Gotze was making his breakthrough to the Borussia Dortmund side. The younger of the pair made just five appearances in the 2009/10 Bundesliga, none of them coming against Ozil’s Werder Bremen. This means the only games where they have faced each other have been in the three UEFA Champions League clashes so far this season.
International goals to games ratio:
Ozil: 14 goals in 46 appearances (1 goal every 3.28 games)
Gotze: 5 goals in 24 appearances (1 goal every 4.8 games)
With both players playing together more frequently since UEFA EURO 2012, it would appear that Joachim Low is trying to find a place for both players in his side, but going by goals per game – Mesut Ozil would appear to be the more valuable to the national team manager.
However, Ozil has started 43 of his 46 national team appearances (93 per cent) since making his debut in 2009, whereas Gotze has started just ten of his 24 international appearances (42 per cent). This means that Gotze has spent far less time on the pitch, and Gotze’s five goals have come at a rate of one every 222 minutes – Ozil’s ratio is one every 259 minutes.
Have Your Say: Who do you think will shine in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg - Ozil or Gotze?