Mario Götze won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup whilst playing under Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. - © 2012 Getty Images
Mario Götze won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup whilst playing under Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. - © 2012 Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund's Mario Götze: "There are similarities with Jürgen Klopp's title-winning team"

Mario Götze has likened current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to the team that won back-to-back league titles under Jürgen Klopp seven years ago.

Götze made his professional debut under Klopp, and went on to play an integral role in the side that toppled record champions Bayern Munich in 2011 and 2012.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has since seen Bayern win the last six Bundesliga titles in a row, playing in three of their triumphant campaigns before returning to Dortmund in summer 2016.

But with BVB six points clear of the defending champions at the halfway stage in 2018/19, Götze is cautiously optimistic the Black-Yellows have what it takes to redress the balance.

"It's a different playing field now, but we have all the necessary ingredients for success such as good team spirit, iron will and a big squad," Götze told media at Dortmund's winter training camp in Marbella, Spain on Wednesday. "In that sense, there are definitely similarities with when we last won it, even though the coach and players are different.

"It was a massive deal to win the Bundesliga in 2011 and 2012, and it'd be incredible to bring the title back to Dortmund again, but we're only halfway through the season."

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund cannot afford to be complacent, according to Mario Götze. - AFP/Getty Images

'Six points isn't a massive lead'

Dortmund lost just once during the first half of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, ending the Hinrunde not just with a six-point advantage over their nearest pursuers but with the highest number of goals scored (44) and the joint-best defence in the division (18 goals against). Although a favourable situation, Götze isn't taking anything for granted.

"We're taking a game-by-game approach," he explained. "There's no point in talking about what happened in the first 17 games or in the Champions League. We know how quickly things can change, the defeat to Fortuna Düsseldorf showed that. Six points isn't a massive lead, and we've got some tough away games to come, starting at RB Leipzig."

As well as fourth-in-the-table Leipzig on Matchday 18, Dortmund also face the likes of free-scoring Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern, local rivals Schalke and third-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach on their travels.

In Götze's words: "we have no easy games, they're all important."

Mario Götze has registered one goal and three assists in the Bundesliga in 2018/19. - AFP/Getty Images

'Spirits are high'

A fit and firing Götze will be a real asset to Dortmund's title aspirations, in any case. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner was blighted by injury and health problems during his first two seasons back at Dortmund, but put in some impressive displays prior to the winter break, not least in the 2-0 win over Gladbach on Matchday 17, when he assisted both goals.

"It was good for me to end the year on a high, but I need to keep it up," said Götze, who has started five of his 10 Bundesliga appearances so far this season. "Being in and out of the side is part of football. If Paco [Alcacer] comes in for me and scores, it's OK. If he doesn't score, that's another story (laughs). Spirits are high in the camp, but no one's interested in what happened in 2018. It's about the here and now."

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