Mario Gotze was delighted to be back in international action as he made a telling contribution in Germany's 2-2 draw with France on Tuesday.
Gotze has not played for the national team in over a year after the last campaign was severely interrupted by a metabolic disorder.
He has slowly been reintegrated into the Borussia Dortmund squad in 2017-18 and earned his first call up from Joachim Low for the friendlies with England and France.
The attacking midfielder was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw with the Three Lions on Friday, but four days later he finally made his return in Cologne.
On as a 65th minute substitute, Gotze was on hand to create a last-minute chance that Lars Stindl swept home to extend Germany's unbeaten run to 21 matches.
"This was a positive story tonight for me and a big step in the right direction," he told ARD.
"I'm happy to be back with the team again. This was a great thing for me tonight."
It looked like the world champions' run was about to come to an abrupt halt after a double from Alexandre Lacazette before Germany's late equaliser, a goal Sami Khedira felt the hosts deserved.
"The result is okay," he said. "In the second half we played great and then we conceded the 1-2.
"At the end the draw was well-deserved. We made very positive impressions after we went down two times."