Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is confident he will be better than ever once he returns from his injury nightmare.
The Germany international was restricted to just three appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's men last term due to a back problem that also saw him miss his country's World Cup victory in Brazil.
Gundogan resumed light training during the close-season and has been stepping up his workload since then.
The 23-year-old is itching to return to action in the Bundesliga, stating his belief that he will be a better player upon his return and that his injury will not change his combative style.
"I don't feel fear at all," he said in an interview with Bild. "I tackle the normal way and don't take it easy.
"If I can keep my pace and there aren't any setbacks, I am sure that I can be better than before my injury. I'm sure that I have not forgotten anything."
Gundogan also welcomed the return of Shinji Kagawa to Signal Iduna Park.
The Japan international endured a frustrating two-year spell at Manchester United before returning to Dortmund during the transfer window and Gundogan believes he will add to an already strong midfield.
"He [Kagawa] fits very well with our team," he added. "We have a great midfield."