Bayern confirm Gotze coup
10:46am Tuesday 23rd April 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Bayern Munich have confirmed Mario Gotze will join them in July.
The Bundesliga champions are prepared to meet the Germany attacking midfielder's release clause in his contract with Borussia Dortmund. Bayern announced the signing in a statement on their official website after Dortmund earlier revealed the player had told them he wanted to make the move.
The statement read: "Bayern Munich confirm that the club have reached an agreement with national team player Mario Gotze that he will play for Bayern Munich from 1 July 2013. Bayern are prepared to meet the release clause agreed between Borussia Dortmund and Mario Gotze."
The release clause is reportedly set at 37 million euros (£31.5m), meaning he will become the most expensive German player of all time. Dortmund had earlier confirmed that Gotze's agent had informed the club the 20-year-old wanted to move to the Allianz Arena, but stressed they had heard nothing official from the Bavarians.
Bayern added in their statement they had wanted to wait until after Dortmund's Champions League semi-final meeting with Real Madrid on Wednesday before making them aware, so as not to distract them from the match.
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said on the club's website: "We are obviously disappointed beyond measure, but emphasise that both Mario and his advisors have behaved within the terms of the contract."
The timing of the announcement is certainly far from ideal for Dortmund, coming just a day before their first-leg meeting with Jose Mourinho's Madrid. But the club have asked for fans to support Gotze and the rest of the players as they seek a place in the Wembley final against Bayern or Barcelona.
A Dortmund statement said: "Coach Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Zorc asks all fans of Borussia Dortmund to support Mario Gotze unconditionally as they would any other player in the final games of the season, but especially in the important Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid."
Losing Gotze, especially to their closest domestic rivals, would be a huge blow to Dortmund. Klopp's side recently relinquished the Bundesliga title they won in each of the past two seasons with Bayern winning the 'salad bowl' in record time.
Gotze has emerged as one of the most coveted players in European football since coming through the ranks at Dortmund and making his Bundesliga debut in November 2009. He played a key role as Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga crowns and has made 22 appearances for Germany, scoring five goals.