Mesut Ozil may have been dropped by Germany amid intense criticism, but the Arsenal playmaker is still considered to be “one of the best players in the world” by Marco Reus.
Having seen some of his off-field decisions questioned in the build up to World Cup 2018, a forgettable opening performance in Russia – in a 1-0 defeat to Mexico – saw the key performer from the triumphant 2014 campaign dropped for the clash with Sweden.
Borussia Dortmund forward Reus was the man to be drafted in and found the target in a crucial 2-1 victory for Die Mannschaft which keeps them on course for the last 16.
That snub represents the first time that Ozil has been dropped for a fixture at a major tournament and he may struggle to force his way back into favour under Joachim Low after several calls for him to be overlooked.
Reus, though, remains a big fan of the 29-year-old and expects him to have an important role to playing heading forward, telling reporters: "We are one team, on and off the pitch, no matter what they say.
"It just shows that Mesut, despite not playing, is with the team, and is there for us.
"He's just an extremely important player for us. He's one of the best players in the world, and I am more than convinced we'll see him in this tournament again."
Germany will be back in action on Wednesday when they face South Korea in their final Group F encounter.
Victory is required to guarantee a spot in the second round, with there still a chance that the group winner and runner-up could be determined by Fair Play count or the drawing of lots.
Reus is eager to avoid such a scenario, with the reigning champions setting their sights on a comfortable success.
He added: "If it comes down to it, it would certainly be a difficult situation. It [a drawing of lots] would be bizarre, but there'd be nothing for us players left to do.”