MUNICH: Pep Guardiola’s influence is already being felt in German football, more than two months before his official arrival as coach of Bayern Munich, with the champions’ purchase of Mario Gotze writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The simple fact that Bayern can lure the greatest star away from their greatest rivals – outgoing champions and fellow Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund – unlines Bayern’s financial power and footballing attraction.

Gotze, 20, considered one of the most talented young players in Europe, told Dortmund that he wished to activate his buyout clause and thus Bayern will pay a domestic record for a German player of €37m. That is €3m below the overall German record which Bayern paid for Bilbao and Spain midfielder Javi Martinez last year.

The timing of the announcement comes on the day when Bayern face new coach Guardiola’s old club Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals and overshadows the negative impact of tax problems involving Bayern’s powerful president Uli Hoeness.

Bavarian-born Gotze – from Memmingen originally – fits perfectly the playing ideal appreciated by Guardiola who has spent the past nine months on sabbatical in New York with his family, taking German lessons and studying tapes of all Bayern’s matches and players.

Bayern may not yet have finished with their raids on Dortmund. They are also expected to sign Borussia’s Poland top scorer Robert Lewandowski.

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