By 90Min
February 19, 2018

After his left-footed volley secured Die Mannschaft their first FIFA World Cup since West Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina back in 1990, it is hard to believe how Mario Götze could be left fighting for his place in Joachim Löw's squad that will travel to Russia this summer.

The 25-year-old has found himself having to kickstart his career after going through an unimaginable setback since his match-winning strike against La Albiceleste in 2014.

Having bravely fought back against an illness that could have forced Götze into retirement, the Borussia Dortmund playmaker has once again found his place in European football and his recent performances - which haven't received the plaudits they deserve - should assure him a place at the World Cup.

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Götze was forced to miss the final 15 games of the Rückrunde last season after being diagnosed with Myopathy - a rare metabolic disease that affects muscle fibres and causes fatigue.

The golden boy of German football, who was famously described as a "once in a century talent" by Felix Magath, was already facing an uphill battle after a three-year spell with Bayern Munich left Götze's career stalling.

However, just six months after returning to the Westfalenstadion, Götze could have seen his hampered career come to a premature end without really fulfilling his potential - an oddly true statement despite the reputation that followed him after his goal at the Maracanã.

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During the weeks and months after the news of his illness became public knowledge, Götze shied away from the headlines and kept himself off social media.

That was until July 6 last year when the young midfielder, who has kept his lips largely sealed when talking about the illness, issued a heartfelt message at the end of an otherwise media trained statement on his Instagram page.

"You all have supported me so much during the last few months," Götze wrote. "Your messages and get-well wishes were motivating and greatly appreciated. Thank you Aki Watzke and Michael Zorc for your trust in me during this difficult time of recovery. It helped a lot."

Götze ended his statement with a special thanks to the medical team that had been supporting him and his fiancéeAnn-Kathrin Brömmel, before signing off his message: "I have much to be thankful for."

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Pleasure playing with you @marcinho11 🤝

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The 25-year-old finally made his long-awaited return to first-team football on the opening day of the Hinrunde earlier this season. Götze even claimed the assist for Dortmund's first Bundesliga goal of the campaign on the road to VfL Wolfsburg.

"Yes, it has been a superb moment, definitely," Götze said about his return after Dortmund's 3-0 victory at the Volkswagen Arena - quoted by Goal.

"I have been in rehab for five months, so I could not train with the team and have not been with the team. So this just makes it more beautiful for me to be with the team again and train with them."

Although the playmaker had appeared to have lost half a yard of pace since his illness, Götze has transformed over the course of the season and has been one of Dortmund's best players throughout the year.

In Die Schwarzgelben's recent Europa League game against Atalanta, Götze was introduced as a second-half substitute with the score 2-1 in the favour of La Dea.

The World Cup-winning midfielder claimed two assists to turn the game around and give Dortmund a vital win, the latter of which was a perfectly weighted first-time pass to Michy Batshuayi in added time.

Although the likes of Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka and Kerem Demirbay have been able to muscle their way into contention for Die Mannschaft's World Cup squad, Götze's performances this season have show he is arguably still Germany's most talented, creative and influential player.

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