Qualifying for the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund is Mario Gotze’s best chance of being included in Germany’s World Cup squad, BVB coach Peter Stoger has said.
Dortmund are third in the Bundesliga, 18 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who could win the title when they host them on Saturday.
Germany coach Joachim Low did not pick a Dortmund player for the recent friendlies against Spain and Brazil, with Gotze rested after an injury and neither Andre Schurrle nor Julian Weigl selected.
“He [Gotze] was focused in training,” Stoger told a news conference. “He knows he still has a chance.
“He made a good and motivated impression in training, and he is still eyeing a place in the squad.”
Asked about the chances of Schurrle and Weigl sealing a place in Russia, Stoger added: “The more successful we are as a team, the more the spotlight will be on the squad and the key players.”
The Dortmund coach said his first priority was to stop Bayern from winning the Bundesliga on Saturday, which will happen if they beat his side and Schalke fail to win against Freiburg.
“Our plan is not that they win the title against us,” he said. “They want to be the best team, and they are the best team.
“We want to be the second-best team. We have not achieved this. But we still want to take something back home.”
Dortmund are likely to be without Marco Reus and defender Omer Toprak, both of whom have trained individually in recent days, at the Allianz Arena.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.