Germany coach Hansi Flick has seen his 2022 FIFA World Cup plans disrupted by injuries in recent weeks, and the former Bayern Munich head coach has opted for a shock move in response.
Key names Timo Werner and Marco Reus saw their chances of heading to Qatar wrecked by injury, with rising star Florian Wirtz also ruled out.
Those absences have impacted Flick’s selection in his final 26-man squad, which was announced on November 10, with veteran midfielder Mario Gotze the big surprise call up.
Gotze’s extra-time winner in the 2014 World Cup final is one of the most iconic moments in German football history, but the forward has been left out in the cold for the national side since 2017.
MORE: Germany World Cup squad 2022: All the names in 26-man team roster for Qatar
Mario Gotze 2022 performances
Gotze’s shock inclusion in the squad is just reward for a return to form this year back in the Bundesliga.
After enjoying something of a career revival with Dutch side PSV since 2020, Gotze opted to return to Germany in the summer, with a switch to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Coach Oliver Glasner has placed his faith in Gotze as an experienced star in his side, with the playmaker making 14 starts in 14 Bundesliga games so far this season.
Despite only netting twice for his new side, Gotze’s consistency has clearly brought him back to Flick’s attention, with the fourth-highest statistics for goal creating action in the Bundesliga this season, amongst German players.
WORLD CUP SQUADS FOR GERMANY’S GROUP E OPPONENTS:
Spain | Costa Rica | Japan
How old is Mario Gotze?
Flick’s decision to bring Gotze back into the international side adds another layer of experience to his squad.
Despite turning 30 ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, Gotze will not be the oldest player in Flick’s squad, with Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer (36) the eldest statesman in the Germany travelling party.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 10, 2022
Gotze is the fourth oldest in the squad overall, behind Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan and Thomas Muller.
Mario Gotze Germany career and World Cup 2014 goal
Gotze was tipped for a stellar international career after impressing during his rise through the youth ranks to make his senior debut in 2010.
His first appearance, in a friendly against Sweden in November 2010, also carried political significance, as he jointly became the first player born in reunified Germany to represent the national team, when he was brought on as a substitute alongside Andre Schurrle.
He went on to play a key role in qualification for Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup before coming off the bench in the final of the latter tournament to score the most famous goal of his career so far.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2022
Gotze remained an important figure in Joachim Low’s squad up until Euro 2016, but his time at his club Borussia Dortmund began to sour, and so too did his international prospects.
His role was questioned heavily in the German media, but as his frequent injury issues were eventually explained in part by the development of a metabolic disorder, he gained more support on his road to full fitness from 2017 onwards.
Mario Gotze World Cup record for Germany
Gotze is responsible for the moment which crowned Germany as world champions for the first time since reunification, and in Qatar he has an opportunity to reignite those memories.
|Games Played||Mins Played||Goals Scored|
Mario Gotze illness and rare disorder
Gotze’s frequent injury issues in the 2016/17 season persuaded the Dortmund medical staff to investigate the potential for a non-football related cause.
Following extensive tests, Gotze was diagnosed with a metabolic condition known as myopathy, which impacts the body’s ability to allow muscles to contract and recover.
This was explained as the reason for his string of minor muscular injuries, and the club opted for a period of further testing and treatment for the condition.
Gotze was removed from the squad for the remainder of that season, from February to July, before returning for pre-season training.
He has since managed the condition and as his form this season shows, has returned to his best.