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The long road back

Badstuber vows ‘patience and plenty of work’

Everyone feared the worst when Holger Badstuber crumpled to the Allianz Arena turf after 35 minutes of the autumn clash between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund. The defender stayed down after an innocuous challenge and was stretchered from the field in pain. The foreboding was confirmed when Holger was diagnosed with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, occasioning a five-month lay-off.

The player sustained the injury in early December last year. Now, five-and-a-half weeks later, tracked down the defender to the massage room, where physio Gerry Hoffmann had wrapped Holger's knee in cooling bandages and was applying miniscule electrical pulses to speed the healing process. “If I was fit, my working day wouldn't be as long," the 23-year-old centre-back laughed. At present, he spends up to four hours a day at the Säbener Strasse facility working on his rehab programme. “The key thing in the first month is to get the knee under control, and we've succeeded," he reported, “now we start moving forward step-by-step."