Comeback on the horizon for hard-working Götze

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Pep Guardiola handed his team the day off on Saturday in Doha, but while one or two of the players took the opportunity for a lie-in and extended breakfast, Mario Götze was back on the exercise bike, the sweat glistening on his forehead. In fact, he insisted, "it's a regeneration day for me too. The intensity has been very high in recent days." But the first impression was the right one: Götze is slaving away in the gym with the aim of returning to the pitch as soon as possible.

"My top priority is to get fit and play again," the 23-year-old confirmed. His season opened satisfactorily, with ten appearances yielding four goals and two assists, but while on Euro 2016 qualifying duty for Germany away to Ireland in early October, he stretched a tendon in his groin and has been sidelined ever since. "It's weird when you look back on it. It looked harmless," Götze reflected, "but at the end of the day I'm lucky not to have had surgery."

He has put it all behind him now. "There are some things you can't avoid in elite sport. Certain things happen over which you have no influence," he commented. His focus is now on the future. "I can do practically everything again, but not with the ball and no sprinting. I still have to be patient, unfortunately," he said, expressing hope of a return to team training at the end of the month. "That's the plan."

The World Cup winner is then hoping to pick up where he left off last October. "I want to contribute to our success as a team and take responsibility. I want to be one of the faces of FC Bayern. We could win plenty of trophies. We have a tough six months ahead of us, but we're in the perfect going-in position. I'm very confident."


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