Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze has said he needs more time to get up to full speed next season following his return from five months out with the metabolic disturbances he says are now part of his life.
Having only featured in one competitive match this year, Gotze — diagnosed with the condition in late February — returned to action in July.
The Germany international joined his BVB teammates for the preseason campaign and played more minutes in friendlies than had been expected.
But he told kicker: “I can’t come back after five months of rehab only to be at 100 percent out of the blue. It will definitely take time.
“The metabolic disturbances are now part of my life. I am happy to be back and to be able to do what I love.”
Gotze said he was not completely cured and still used medication, but acknowledged that expectations were high and said that “in the first couple of weeks” it would make sense to rein them in.
Attention will be on Gotze in the German Super Cup against Bayern Munich on Saturday, and, writing in kicker, former Bayern Munich and Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: “First and foremost, Gotze’s comeback is very encouraging for Borussia Dortmund.
“Hopefully he remains healthy because the investment in him must pay dividends for the club. This player, one of the best in Germany, is like a new signing for Dortmund.”
Former Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer, meanwhile, told Bild it was “wonderful” to see Gotze back in action.
“I’d never expected Mario to return like this after such a long period of suffering,” he added.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.