Gotze back in training with Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund starlet Mario Gotze is back in training after missing most of pre-season with conjunctivitis and could be fit to face Bayern Munich in this weekend's German Super Cup.
Gotze, 20, enjoyed an impressive first half of the 2011-12 campaign, but a hip injury saw him miss a number of games in the run-in as Dortmund claimed their first-ever Bundesliga and DFB Pokal double.
Dortmund had hoped to have the playmaker, who has been a rumoured €40 million transfer target for Manchester United and Inter Milan, fully fit for pre-season, but a bout of conjunctivitis scuppered those plans.
Although Gotze remains a doubt for Sunday's Super Cup clash, he could be available to coach Jurgen Klopp despite his eye not having completely healed.
Prior to Dortmund's open training session in front of 2,500 supporters on Wednesday, Klopp said: "He is back to 80% vision in that eye. That is as much as you can see after a big night out - with the difference being that it does not get better during the day."
With Shinji Kagawa having been sold to Manchester United over the summer, Gotze is expected to play a more pivotal role for Dortmund this season - but he faces tough competition for an attacking midfield spot.
Polish international Jakub Blaszczykowski, 26, was an important figure in Dortmund's title-winning campaign, contributing six goals and seven assists, while Kevin Grosskreutz, Croatia international Ivan Perisic, Moritz Leitner and €17 million signing Marco Reus will also be fighting for only three positions.
Sunday's Super Cup sees Dortmund looking to extend their run of five straight wins over Bayern, but last year's league and cup runners-up are determined to lay down a marker, their president Uli Hoeness has said.
"One thing is certain. We want to win that match. I can imagine the headlines if we fail to do so,"Hoeness told kicker. "Our firm goal has to be becoming the undisputed No.1 club in Germany. We will try everything to achieve this aim."
The German Super Cup is a fairly young competition, and only once in its 16-year history has the winner gone on to lift the Bundesliga crown - Dortmund in 1995.