The former Borussia Dortmund wonderkid has seen injury restrict him to just seven league appearances this year, but his coach insists he remains a key part of the team
Mario Gotze remains an important player for Bayern Munich, according to Pep Guardiola.
Gotze has made just seven Bundesliga appearances this season, only returning to the first team set-up late last month after a hamstring injury sustained in October.
The 23-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena, with Liverpool and Juventus reportedly interested in his signature.
Gotze has been an unused substitute in Bayern’s last three fixtures and is not yet back to match fitness, but Guardiola feels he will have an influential role to play in the closing stages of the season.
“He needs more time, but he is getting better week after week. I have seven strikers,” said the Spaniard.
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“[He is] very professional. He thinks about football 24 hours a day. We have another three months [of the season to go].
“We need all the players so that we can achieve our goals. He was, and is, important.”
Bayern hold an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund – who they face on Saturday – at the Bundesliga summit, but Guardiola is solely focused on their encounter with Mainz on Wednesday.
“Everybody talks about Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund, but we are playing against Mainz. They are fifth in the league,” he added.
“Mainz have a great starting XI with many dynamic players and a really good goalkeeper.”