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Hitzfeld: Gotze one of Germany's greatest ever

Former Borussia Dortmund head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld believes a fully fit Mario Gotze is one of Germany's greatest ever players.

Gotze burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old at Dortmund, while he fired Germany to World Cup glory in 2014, however, his career has been hampered by fitness woes.

The 25-year-old returned to Dortmund from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in 2016-17 but he was restricted to 16 appearances in all competitions after being diagnosed with a metabolic disorder.

Gotze is back to full health heading into the new campaign and Hitzfeld – who guided Dortmund to Bundesliga and Champions League glory in the 1990s – lauded the attacking midfielder's quality.

"For me he is one of the best footballers Germany has ever had, when he is in shape, when he has the fitness he simply has the quality," Hitzfeld told Eurosport.

"When Gotze is on the ball, something happens. He has a high game intelligence. He sees spaces, that others do not see.

"He can handle the ball as others just cannot do. And then he plays the crucial passes, as well as he is a goal danger.

"He has everything that distinguishes a top player."

Gotze played 63 minutes in Dortmund's 1-0 friendly loss to Atalanta on Tuesday.