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Gotze, the World Cup winner enjoying a second wind thanks to yoga, taekwondo and Rafa Nadal

A decade ago, in the summer of 2012, Mario Gotze was relatively unknown in Spain. Those who kept an eye on German football had an inkling of a Borussia Dortmund player who, under the orders of Jurgen Klopp, was maturing into a potential star who would make his mark in the Bundesliga.

During 2012/13, Gotze season introduced himself to those who did not know him, helping Borussia Dortmund reach the Champions League final.

While Dortmund eventually lost the final to Bayern Munich, the team made their impression after a 4-1 win against Real Madrid in the semi-finals after another young star named Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick.

Ten years have passed since then and Gotze, who now plays for Eintracht Frankfurt, the Europa League champions, will once again face Real Madrid during the upcoming UEFA Super Cup.

Gotze's life over the past 10 years has been a rollercoaster. The highest point of his career came on July 13, 2014, at the Maracana. His goal during extra time against Argentina was the only goal scored in the finals of the 2014 World Cup, with Germany claiming their fourth World Cup.

"Show the world that you are better than Messi," Germany coach Joachim Low supposedly whispered to him before sending him on to take Miroslav Klose's place with two minutes left in regular time.

However, far from achieving the status of eternal legend, Gotze entered a downward spiral in his career.

His departure from Dortmund, his home since he was nine years old, was distasteful to say the least. In April 2013, weeks before the Wembley final, he signed for Bayern Munich.

He was the first gem in Pep Guardiola's Bavarian project. During the Champions League final in London, Gotze felt the ire of the Dortmund fans.

Injuries and metabolism problems

His decline since then was steady and in 2016 he returned to Dortmund. However, despite his return his influence on the team would be marginal and in 2020 he left for PSV Eindhoven.

Muscle injuries became a frequent theme in Gotze's career with a problem with his metabolism the root cause.

The best of Gotze was never to be seen again. His body wasn't working, his mind wasn't working. That led him to take a step back in 2020, and following his move to PSV everything changed.

As time went by, he regretted not accepting Klopp's offer to join Liverpool. But he has since made peace with that decision.

Gotze also found an escape route through yoga. He practises it at least once a week with taekwondo also becoming another outlet that lets him maintain the level of fitness needed to be an important part of Eintracht's plans under Oliver Glasner.

Finally, Gotze has also used a quote by tennis legend Rafael Nadal as a source of inspiration to help him get back to the top.

"You work mentally when you leave the court every day," Nadal once said.

"Every day. You don't complain when you play badly, when you have problems, when you're in pain. No.

"Then you put on a brave face and have a positive attitude. You go out on the court every day with the passion to train, day by day. That's the real mental work."

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