Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze confident of Germany World Cup spot
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze has told kicker he believes he is worthy of a place in Germany's World Cup squad.
Gotze, 25, scored the World Cup-winning goal in the 2014 final against Argentina but has since struggled with form and injuries at both Bayern Munich and Dortmund.
Having returned to the Germany squad for the first time in a year late last year, he was then not picked for the March friendlies against Spain and Brazil.
He lost his place in the Dortmund team following the 6-0 thrashing at Bayern Munich in March but has returned to thrive in a central midfield role alongside Marco Reus.
"I believe I will be at the World Cup because I can contribute a certain quality," he said, adding that his failure to make the squad in March had been "a clear sign that I must fight harder and step up my game."
The 25-year-old is set for a third consecutive start at the weekend as Dortmund look to qualify for the Champions League with a win over Mainz.
BVB could be without Reus, with head coach Peter Stoger telling a news conference: "Marco Reus has not trained with the team this week, but he completed a running session and I hope he will make it."
Stoger praised Gotze's partnership with Reus, saying: "They have a great understanding. Passes, runs -- everything fits together.
"They are greatly helped by the guys around them. Julian Weigl is finally playing in central midfield like I had hoped he would be able to."
Dortmund have yet to announce their new coach for the 2018-2019 season and will not make an official statement until it is known which European competition they will play in next season.
"We have clearly communicated in the last weeks that our focus is on our goal of reaching the Champions League," Stoger said.
"If we can reach our goal in front of our home fans, that would be a nice thing."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.