Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze hopes his fitness woes are now behind him after the “superb moment” of his weekend comeback.
Gotze was the prodigal son returning to Signal Iduna Park this time last year, having departed to join Bayern Munich in 2013, but he was restricted to 16 appearances and two goals in all competitions.
He last featured for the first team competitively in February, after which he was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder.
The 25-year-old, who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final, returned to action in Saturday’s 3-2 friendly win over Urawa Reds and is delighted to be back in the picture under new boss Peter Bosz.
“It has been a superb moment, definitely,” Gotze told Perform. “I have been in rehab for five months, so I could not train with the team and have not been with the team the last months.
“So this just makes it more beautiful for me to be with the team again and training with them from July onwards.
“I will leave the past behind me and look ahead to the new season, which is important for me and for all players. We are looking forward to it.”
Former Ajax boss Bosz was appointed following Thomas Tuchel’s departure as head coach, which came amid widespread reports of a breakdown in relations at both boardroom and dressing room level, despite leading Dortmund to DFB-Pokal glory.
“As I didn’t play the second half of the season it is difficult to tell,” Gotze said, before acknowledging tension did exist under Tuchel.
“He demanded a lot but, even though it wasn’t always easy with him for the team and the players, they won the DFB-Pokal and showed great quality. Purely from results it worked very well.”
Next on the agenda for Gotze and Dortmund is an International Champions Cup meeting with AC Milan in Guangzhou on Tuesday.
These are the first steps of a campaign that will conclude with Germany’s World Cup defence in Russia although, given his recent trials, the man who sealed glory last time around does not wish to look too far ahead.
“For the moment I don’t think about that,” Gotze added. “I have to train first, play … at the end of the season we’ll see.
“Of course I know that we have a tournament at the end of the season and that a World Cup is always very special but it is very simple – I want to be healthy and able to play. That’s the only aim I have at the moment.”
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