German Bundesliga

Germany hero Gotze struggled with 'huge expectations' after 2014 World Cup

The winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final provided Mario Gotze's career highlight but also put pressure on the Germany star.

Mario Gotze believes his 2014 World Cup-winning goal for Germany was "not that great" for his career, conceding it created "huge" expectations.

Borussia Dortmund star Gotze, then of rivals Bayern Munich, was long tipped to be one of the world's very best and had a decisive impact in the biggest match of his life when he scored the only goal of the final against Argentina at the Maracana.

But having failed to kick on in the subsequent years, returning to Dortmund and falling out of favour with the national team amid a metabolic disorder that sidelined him for five months, Gotze acknowledges the expectation became too much.

"Once I stop playing, it will probably be the experience I cherish most, the first thing that comes to mind," he told The Athletic. "There is nothing more amazing [than the final goal].

"But for my active career, it was not that great, perhaps. The strong emotional response created huge expectations.

"It became lodged in people's minds that I was the guy to score decisive goals in decisive games all the time. That was the assumption out there."

Rather than concerning himself continuing to try to live up to those expectations, though, Gotze is content with first performing for Dortmund.

"It would be great to play another big [international] tournament, but it's not my target right now," he added.

"My priority is to reach my personal goals with Dortmund. I can't influence anything else. There is always an element of luck involved in getting called up."

Gotze believes he can enjoy his football under Lucien Favre, while he gives little thought to the idea he has failed to fulfil huge potential.

"I'm doing well, I'm relaxed, I'm very cool," he said. "In any job, it's important that you're feeling comfortable, that your body works and that you can find your inner balance.

"The most important thing for me right now is to enjoy playing football. I want to relish the experience in the knowledge that many things tend to happen over the course of a season. To deal with these situations, to appreciate them, that's the trick.

"What does 'doing justice to your potential' mean? I'm not a big fan of imagining what could have been. There is no point.

"All I can do is to stay true to myself and to the journey I'm on. I want to grow, I want to improve, I want to achieve the maximum possible at any given moment.

"I want to be able to say that I went my own way at the end and performed to the very limit of my ability."