Mario Gomez returns to former club Stuttgart from Wolfsburg
Mario Gomez has rejoined former club Stuttgart from Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg.
Gomez, 32, played his youth football at Stuttgart from the age of 16 and went on to win the Bundesliga in 2007 with the club -- the year he also picked up the German Footballer of the Year award.
"I'm very happy to be back where it all started for me," Gomez told Stuttgart's official website. "I have sensed especially in the last few days how much I wanted to return to Stuttgart -- to the club where I learnt my trade.
"I probably enjoyed my craziest time here winning the Bundesliga in 2007 -- it is the club that made me what a player I am. I am looking forward to playing for the club again, the city, the people, the staff and my family. I cannot wait to get going."
Gomez has played 71 times for Germany, scoring 31 goals, and finished top scorer at Euro 2012.
He says he has not given up hope of making Joachim Low's squad for the World Cup next year.
"I'll give everything from now on to play well during the second half of the season in order to stave off relegation and, in addition, achieve my aim of playing in the World Cup," he said. "I said when I played here for Germany against Norway in September that it is always special for me to play in this stadium."
Stuttgart languish in 14th in the Bundesliga, just two points away from the relegation zone after losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich on Saturday, missing a penalty with the last kick of the game.
"I know expectations are big and a challenging situation awaits me," Gomez added.
Michael Reschke, former technical director at Bayern and now sporting executive at Stuttgart, said: "By signing Mario not only have we added a great person and a figure that the fans can identify with, but he's a world-class goal scorer too -- that is the key factor."
Gomez became Bayern's record signing at €30 million when he joined in 2009, winning two Bundesliga titles and scoring 75 goals in 115 appearances. He was the Bundesliga's top scorer with 28 goals in 32 games in 2010-11 under Louis van Gaal.
He also featured in three Champions League finals -- the losses to Inter Milan in 2010 and Chelsea in 2012, before entering as a late substitute in the victory against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in Bayern's 2013 Treble-winning season under Jupp Heynckes.
Overall, Gomez has scored 151 Bundesliga goals in 281 appearances for Stuttgart, Bayern and Wolfsburg, also enjoying spells in Serie A with Fiorentina and on loan at Turkish side Besiktas.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.