Mario Gotze concedes Borussia Dortmund have a “very difficult” Champions League group but expects the Bundesliga side to exceed last season’s poor performance in the competition.
Dortmund failed to win any of their group games in 2017-18 having been paired with Real Madrid, Tottenham and Cypriot club APOEL, against whom they drew twice.
Lucien Favre’s men have a similarly tough task this term, with Dortmund set to take on Club Brugge in Wednesday’s opener before games with Monaco and Atletico Madrid.
Dortmund reached the 2012-13 final, losing to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, and Gotze believes his team can be a threat in the competition again.
“We had a pretty difficult group last season, that’s something you shouldn’t forget about,” Gotze told Omnisport.
“Sure, two points from six games were far too few [to qualify for the knockout round]. We also had APOEL in our group and wanted to go to the next round. That’s our goal for this season, too.
“We know that we have a very difficult group. Our first game will be tough in Brugge. But despite that we have good chances to get very far with this team. That needs to be our expectation and we want to reach that.
“It’s definitely not going to be easy. Especially not with Atletico in our group as well as Monaco and Brugge. It’s going to be a huge challenge.
“In general it’s very important to me. I have already won the Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal a few times, so the Champions League is pretty attractive for me. It’s very difficult to win, I know that.
“But it’s a very exciting trophy and I want to win it. That’s why the trophy has got a huge meaning for me personally.”
Dortmund beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in their first Bundesliga game of the season but were then held to a goalless draw by Hannover.
Gotze, though, feels there are other ways to measure Dortmund’s success under new coach Favre, who took charge after leaving Nice.
“I think two things are important. Not only the result at the end of the season and if you make it in the Champions League or not, but also the way you achieve your goals is important as well,” Gotze added.
“Did you play attractive football to watch? Was it possible to give the fans a good feeling? And of course, did you play consistently for many weeks?
“People have to rate you as good both on and off the pitch. That’s all necessary to have the right result at the end. I think that they are the important things in the coming season.”