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Low satisfied with development of 'exceptional' Gotze

Mario Gotze remains part of Germany's plans for the 2018 World Cup despite being left out of their latest squad, confirmed coach Joachim Low.

Gotze scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final but, since then, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has had his career seriously disrupted by injury and illness.

The 25-year-old is back in Bundesliga action with Dortmund and Low is keeping a close eye on Gotze's performances ahead of next year's tournament in Russia.

"I'm very satisfied with his development," Low told Bild." I had contact with him. He feels good and is taking steps forward.

"Mario always was a valuable player for us. So I would be happy if he gets back to his old shape and maintains it. Mario is an exceptional player with special qualities."

Germany maintained their perfect record in qualification with Group C victories over Czech Republic and Norway, but their place at the finals is not yet confirmed as they are five points clear of Northern Ireland with two games remaining.