Borussia Dortmund have had a somewhat turbulent season but through the good times and the bad, Mario Götze’s dependable performances have been one of the few constants.
Blighted by injury and illness since his return to Borussia in 2016, Götze has found some rhythm this season, starting 12 times in the league and playing himself into form at an important time for the club.
Coming off the bench to score against Hamburg on Matchday 22, he then provided two assists in the 3-2 home win against Atalanta in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League on 16 February.
With Andre Schürrle also back in the groove, Marco Reus returning from a long-term injury and Michy Batshuayi leaving such a strong impression since joining on loan from Chelsea, Götze has flown somewhat under the radar. However, head coach Peter Stöger was quick to underline the FIFA World Cup winner’s contribution.
“I see Mario getting better and better,” said the Austrian, who replaced Peter Bosz as coach in December. “He’s in a phase right now where he’s pain-free and playing without any problems. If that can be sustained over a longer period and get gets his rhythm back fully, you’ll then see what a good player he is.”
Watch: Götze, Schürrle and Reus fit and firing
Coaching talent of the likes of Götze and Reus is something new for Stöger himself, but the 51-year-old is enjoying the challenge of coaxing the maximum out of his players. “We have a few players of that type of ability and we’re trying hard to bring them to the level of performance they can reach. To accompany Mario and help him become a happy player again is a lot of fun.”
Such encouragement will be music to the ears of Götze, who will no doubt be hoping that an extended run in the BVB side could see him included in Germany’s World Cup squad at the end of the season. He made quite the impact in Brazil four years ago, and he will know he has plenty more to give his club and country in 2017/18.