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Exclusive: Top striker Mario

Gomez: Everything’s running like clockwork

Mario Gomez has scored 107 goals in the last five Bundesliga seasons, although his career almost began inauspiciously. As an eight-year-old in his very first organised match, young Mario dribbled the ball direct from kick-off - and bore down on his own goal. Fortunately, his team-mates stopped him before damage could be done, “and there was never any danger for our keeper," Gomez recalled with a grin, “I just didn't understand the game."

The player is still magnetically attracted to the goal frame, and these days, he knows exactly which end of the pitch to target. The 27-year-old came close to 30 goals in each of the last two German league seasons, but the first serious injury of his career caused him to miss the first third of the current campaign. Mario fought his way back and made a prolific return to action before Christmas. At the end of the winter training camp in Qatar, the world-class striker talked to about the season so far and the strenuous week in Doha.

Interview: Mario Gomez Mario, how's your ankle? You were forced to take it easy for a couple of days at the training camp.
Mario Gomez: It's good. I had a little bruising, and in any case, it wasn't the ankle I injured at the end of last season. I was basically only going to rest for a day, but the medics advised me to go easy for another day. We didn't want to take any risks. The only annoying thing was being handed an even harder workout than my team-mates on the day I rejoined the squad. Just my luck! (laughs).