Berlin: Ilkay Guendogan returns to Germany`s squad this week, happy to be finally putting behind him the agony of a 14-month injury layoff and his absence from the victorious 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.
"You really cherish it now, having a day without pain," the creative midfielder told reporters ahead of Wednesday`s friendly against Australia in Kaiserslautern and Sunday`s Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia in Tbilisi on Sunday.
"It`s like a rebirth because 14 months is a long time to be injured. Kaiserslautern now completes the circle because that was where I last played for the national team."
Guendogan has not played for his country since damaging his back in a friendly against Poland in August 2013, an injury that ruled him out for the rest of that season.
"It hurt," he said, referring to missing the World Cup. "But even though I was not there, in my thoughts I was always part of the team."
Guendogan added, however, that he had more time to digest his disappointment than Marco Reus who was also sidelined for the tournament after being injured on the eve of the squad`s departure for Brazil.
The 24-year-old Guendogan made his Borussia Dortmund comeback in October and has been leading their return to form since the winter break.
Germany have suffered something of a World Cup hangover and have seven points from four games, the same as Ireland and Scotland, three points adrift of Group D leaders Poland.
"The test against Australia is important for us to find our feet again," said Guendogan.
"We want to attack now. Those that did not experience the (World Cup) triumph are hungry and we want to play our part from now on."
Defender Holger Badstuber is also back in Germany`s squad this week after an absence of more than two years because of consecutive knee ligament tears.