Germany striker Timo Werner believes Mario Gotze has been wronged, but overcome unrealistic expectations attached after the 2014 World Cup to prove he still belongs at the top.
Gotze, 26, has endured a steady fall from a grace since firing his country to the ultimate glory with an extra-time winner in the final in Brazil four years ago.
The injury-prone playmaker left Bayern Munich to re-join Borussia Dortmund in 2016 but the move has not gone to plan, with a metabolic disorder limiting his playing time and new boss Lucien Favre yet to afford him a Bundesliga start this term.
Amid public debate over his fading fortunes, Gotze earned an opportunity off the bench against Augsburg last weekend and responded with a vital goal in a chaotic 4-3 victory.
Werner hopes the strike will silence the discussion and allow his former Germany team-mate to concentrate on rediscovering his best.
"Mario is being wronged a lot. Every time [the talk is] whether he is fit, whether he can play or why he sits on the bench," Werner told Sport1.
"He played a really good game against Augsburg the other day. Mario has not forgotten how to play football, he is a great player.
"I hope the attention around him now calms down, and when calmer waters return I believe he can get on track again.
Happy about the victory! pic.twitter.com/QHOLJpJzTb— Mario Götze (@MarioGoetze) October 6, 2018
"Everyone in Germany sees Gotze as the hero that scored to give us the World Cup title, that he should show he is better than Lionel Messi.
"He scored a great goal. That's above all else. But how do you beat that?
"His performances should be considered sensibly again."