Marco Reus says Germany have a good chance of defending their World Cup title in Russia this summer, and the Borussia Dortmund winger wants to be a big part of it.
Reus missed out on glory in Brazil four years ago when he picked up an injury only hours before he and the rest of the squad were due to board their plane to South America. His Dortmund team-mate Mario Götze held aloft a shirt with his name on it after his goal earned Germany the title in Rio de Janeiro.
Reus would like to be wearing that shirt in Russia, though, and he is optimistic both about his and Die Mannschaft's chances.
"I'm totally convinced that if the team manages to find itself and things work like clockwork, Germany have a lot going for them," Reus told dfb.de. "I definitely want to help the team – on the field. I'm going to be 29 when the tournament starts, and I know what I can do."
Reus also knows that he is not Joachim Löw's only candidate on the left wing, but he is happy to fight for his place in the Germany coach's thoughts.
"Of course, that's part of the game and competition makes you work harder," he said. "It puts every one of us under pressure to perform in each training session. I think the coach and his staff strive a situation like this, where at there are at least two very good players for each position, who can push each other to perform better. He will pick the best performers, and the tournament is extremely long."
Watch: Reus' 18 goals against 18 Bundesliga sides!
Germany could spend the best part of five weeks in Russia if all goes according to plan, and they stick around for the final on 15 July. However, they will be taking it one step at a time to get there, overcoming what Reus expects to be some pretty stiff obstacles.
"It doesn't help us speculating now about who we could meet in the quarter-finals," he said. "Nobody should under-estimate our group with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden, because it's going to be pretty demanding. And over the course of the tournament, we're bound to have at least one or two games where we'll have to win by a whisker: it will come down to centimetres or a few incidents.
"But that is what makes football so great, particularly at a World Cup. As a player, these are just the kinds of game I want to be involved in."
Reus is working hard to ensure he will be involved – in as many games as possible in Russia, ideally seven.