World Cup hero Götze relishing return to action with Dortmund
The scorer of the winning goal in the 2014 final in Rio has been out since February with a metabolic disorder and is eyeing Russia 2018.
Borussia Dortmund host arch-rivals Bayern Munich for the German Super Cup -- the annual pre-season clash between the German Cup winners and Bundesliga champions respectively -- on Saturday and Mario Götze is relishing the opportunity to return to action after a lengthy lay-off with a metabolic problem.
It will be Götze's first competitive match since withdrawing from all football in February, after featuring in Dortmund's pre-season friendlies.
"I feel good. I can take part in top level sport again, but I'm still in treatment through the medication that I have to keep taking," Götze told German magazine Kicker. "Everyone has their strength and weaknesses and the metabolic problem is a part of my life now. I am just happy to be back and able to do what I love."
After such a significant spell on the sidelines, Götze knows he needs time to rediscover his form.
"I am not going to come back and be 100 percent straight away after five months in rehab," he said. "Of course, I will need the games and training sessions to refind my rhythm. That's obvious to me and, hopefully, to everyone else too."
Götze's World Cup 2014 winner
It was Götze's stunning chest and volley in extra-time at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã Stadium which won Germany the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.
Three years later, Götze, still only 25, is far from assured of a place in Germany's squad for next year's tournament in Russia.
A frustrating three-year stint at Bayern Munich, whose then-coach Pep Guardiola made it clear Götze had no place in his first-choice line-up, ended in July 2016 when he returned to Dortmund.
It seemed the perfect place to rekindle his career after Götze broke into the Germany squad on the back of helping Dortmund win the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga titles under Jürgen Klopp.
But Götze struggled for any kind of form in his first season back, which was cut short in February when his disorder was unearthed and therapy began.
He says there were dark days in the first few weeks after the diagnosis.
Götze: "I had to have a point in time to work towards"
"At first, it was hard for me to understand that I couldn't play even though I didn't have a structural injury, no damaged muscles or torn ligaments," said Götze. "It meant I had to have a time point to work towards - the start of the new season and be able to play again. That is what I have been looking to the most."
Bayern have won the title for each of the last five seasons, but US international Christian Pulisic sees this as Dortmund's 'big chance to win the Bundesliga'.
The Super Cup showdown will see Dortmund test themselves against Bayern under new head coach Peter Bosz, as striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goes head-to-head with Bayern's Robert Lewandowski.
For Götze, the Super Cup is also a chance to impress Germany head coach Joachim Löw before next month's World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Norway.
"Rio was an incredible event, but it doesn't carry a bonus anymore," admitted Götze on his Russia 2018 hopes. "Only the best will go to the World Cup, and Löw will decide."
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