The news that star player Mario Gotze is leaving Borussia Dortmund for rival Bayern Munich at the end of the season could not have come at a worse time for his soon-to-be former club, as Dortmund prepares for what it’s been touting as “the most spectacular home game in Borussia Dortmund’s history”: the first-leg of its UEFA Champions League Semifinal series against Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday.
Bayern, which could possibly face Dortmund in next month’s UCL final at Wembley if both clubs progress, said Tuesday it had wanted to delay the announcement that Goetze would be joining its ranks “out of consideration” for Wednesday’s soldout game, but the news that the German champion had triggered Goetze’s $48 million release clause was leaked to the press late Monday. Once both clubs confirmed the transfer, Dortmund was left struggling to minimize its impact.
Irate fans immediately took to Goetze’s Facebook page, posting abusive messages. Dortmund responded by pleading with fans to continue to support the player "unconditionally." It said in a statement: "Now, more than ever, Borussia Dortmund will not be distracted from the big dream of laying the foundation for a surprise in tomorrow's Champions League semifinal to reach the final.”
As it turns out, the transfer was actually agreed two weeks ago, the day after Dortmund eliminated Spanish club Malaga in the UCL Quarterfinals, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp revealed during a press conference. He said the leaked transfer rated “nine out of ten” for bad timing. "It could have been worse - it could have been four hours before the game," he joked.