Mario Gotze hopes to return to pre-season training with Borussia Dortmund soon after reporting encouraging progress on his recovery from a metabolic disorder.
Gotze, who scored Germany's winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina, returned to Dortmund from Bayern Munich last season but was restricted to 16 appearances and two goals as he was blighted by fitness problems.
The diagnosis of his illness ended the 25-year-old's season early and he is keen to make up for lost time when Dortmund reconvene under new boss Peter Bosz.
"Due to a metabolic disorder, I was unable to play football lately," Gotze said in a statement on his Facebook and Instagram accounts.
"During the last few months I have gone through a successful treatment and I am back on track now.
"Tomorrow [Friday] I will start with the third stage of my recovery program. This means I will complete the performance test and begin training with the team soon.
"I am more than excited to be back in the stadium and on the training ground again."
Hello everyone, due to a metabolic disorder, I was unable to play football lately. During the last few months I have gone through a successful treatment and I am back on track now. Tomorrow I will start with the 3rd stage of my recovery program. This means I will complete the performance test and begin training with the team soon. I am more than excited to be back in the stadium and on the training ground again. A few important things for you to know: First, I am very proud of my BVB teammates and I am so happy they took home the DFB Cup. The pictures of all of you, the fans, celebrating in the city reminded me of my first victories with the club. Second, I would like to congratulate my teammates of the German national team for winning the Confed Cup as well as the German U21 for their victory at the European Championships. I am extremely proud to be a member of the team and of the DFB. I would also like to wish my younger brother success on the U19 national team. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!! Last but not least, I would like to give a big thanks to all of my fans. You all have supported me so much during the last few months. 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. Thanks to my team, my doctors, and my fitness coach, and all the other people who stuck by me. For all of the patience, support, and positive energy, thank you to my family and my fiancée @annkathrin_vida I have much to be thankful for. See you on the pitch! Best wishes, Mario
Gotze went on to congratulate Dortmund on closing 2016-17 with DFB-Pokal glory, along with Germany's triumphant teams in the Confederations Cup and European Under-21 Championship.
He thanked Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc and the club's medical staff for their support during his lay-off.