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Duo in sports rehab

Robben on track, Badstuber ‘delighted’

The sound of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer cannot be heard in the fitness centre at the Aspire Academy in Doha, a stone’s throw from the practice ground where the Bayern squad work out. Instead, music played in the background on Thursday as Arjen Robben and Holger Badstuber continued working towards comebacks. “Sports rehab involves a certain amount of pain,” acknowledged Robben in a break between sessions on the fitness machines. Badstuber’s routine is very different: “Running again is the next big step for me,” the defender explained.

Holger, who has been out for 13 months with cruciate ligament problems, initially took to the exercise bike before exercising at walking pace on the treadmill. He completed his drills with a session of aquajogging in the adjacent pool. “I’m burning to get back out on the pitch. I miss the turf and the game,” confessed Badstuber, although he knows he has to remain patient: “I mustn’t overdo it on the knee.“

There is no predetermined date for the Bavarian native to make a comeback. “The main thing for me is to get fit again. Bayern are giving me all the time in the world,” he stated. “Obviously I know approximately how much longer it’ll go on. But I also know just how long it takes to get back into it after such a long break.“

Badstuber’s presence at the Volkswagen Camp Qatar includes “a psychological component,” Matthias Sammer earlier confirmed. The player agrees: “I’m delighted to be part of the team again. Pep Guardiola is making sure I feel good and he’s showing me I still belong.”

Only days to go for Arjen

Badstuber’s immediate priority is to start running again, but Robben is much further on and poised to resume team training. “I think I just need a couple more days,” he commented, “everything’s on track. It’s all going brilliantly and positively.“ The Dutchman sustained a deep gash to the right knee five weeks ago, “and I couldn’t do anything for three to four weeks,” he noted.

Robben has already worked with the ball on the training ground, the last stage of his sports rehab program before rejoining the squad. But will he be fit in time for the restart fixture away to Gladbach two weeks from now? Robben is confident: “It could well be.”