Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is confident Mario Gotze will be fit for the Bundesliga title run-in.
Gotze has been out of action since mid-December with a troublesome groin injury. He was initially ruled out for up to six months, but his recovery is progressing well and Klopp now expects him to play again before the end of the season.
"The probability that he can still play five or six games for us is relatively high,'' Klopp said ahead of his side's DFB-Pokal clash with Greuther Furth on Tuesday night. "But it is going to take a bit more time yet - he is not fit enough yet.''
Gotze has been receiving treatment at a specialist clinic in Bavaria. He has commenced light training already, but Klopp is not putting him under any pressure to rush his return, not even in view of his side's pivotal clashes with the three clubs chasing his side for the title, Bayern Munich, Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke.
The Westphalians face those three sides in a row in a month's time, but Klopp insists Gotze will only be involved if he is 100% fit.
"We are certainly not going to bring him back too soon,'' he said. "We will have to see what recommendations he is given and when he will be able to recommence full training.''
In Gotze's absence, Dortmund have extended their unbeaten record to 20 matches, winning nine of their 10 games since the he picked up his injury.
The news of Gotze's recovery will also be a boost to Germany coach Joachim Low, who is monitoring his fitness ahead of his squad announcement for Euro 2012 in May.