Germany star Mario Gotze has said Borussia Dortmund are making up for last year's failed European campaign this season after booking their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Dortmund are back in Bundesliga action on Saturday at Mainz with the reigning champions fourth in the table, but Borussia are highlighting Germany's strong presence in Europe this season with all three teams in the last 16.
Gotze got on the scoresheet as Borussia swept past Ajax 4-1 in Amsterdam on Wednesday to leave the Germans three points clear on top of Group D ahead of rivals Real Madrid and into the next phase before their final pool match.
Their impressive form is a far-cry from last season when Borussia finished bottom of their Champions League group and Gotze says the Germans have learnt to perform when it matters. "The Champions League is a very big challenge, and you need to rise to the occasion," said the 20-year-old. "We managed to do that, we stood up at the decisive moments and were efficient. That's the difference from last season."
Dortmund have earned some impressive results this autumn by backing up a home win over Real with a draw in Madrid, while they drew at Manchester City and earned home and away wins over Ajax. "We were drawn in a very difficult group, but we simply looked forward to the opponents and the matches," said Gotze.
"And you could see that we wanted to make up for last year. I think that we did very well in that sense. Whether it was against Real Madrid or Manchester City or against Ajax, we produced a very good team performance."
Dortmund pole-axed Ajax despite enjoying just 33 percent ball possession and converted four of only five shots on goal, but midfielder Marco Reus, who scored their first, says there is only one statistic which matters. "We're scoring the goals this season. We're using the chances we're creating," he said. "That sets us apart. It's the goals, not the statistics, that count. Ajax didn't play poorly against us, but they were nowhere near as effective as we were in front of goal."