Created on 19-07-2014 at 13:40 PM
A friendly success can never have felt as good for Holger Badstuber as Friday's 3–0 victory over the Red Baroons fan club. The defender captained the Bayern side in Memmingen, the town where he was born, and the 11,150 capacity crowd gave the former FCB youth a standing ovation when he was substituted after an hour. But the most important take out of the evening was that Badstuber has finally made his long awaited comeback.
“Obviously it was fantastic,” said the defender, who was sidelined for more than 19 months with cruciate ligament damage. “I'm just so grateful. I’m enjoying every single minute I spend out on the pitch. I've worked very hard for this.” Badstuber played alongside new signing Juan Bernat and Austria star David Alaba in a three-man backline and shut out the Baroons, whose team was augmented by semi-pro fourth division players from FC Memmingen.
Wearing the captain's armband was “only a secondary thing," Badstuber said afterwards. “What matters is that I'm fit and healthy, I didn't feel cramped in the game and I felt confident. That was the main thing.” The Germany international understands what lies ahead for him personally: “Not very long from now I'll have cut out the errors I made today. Every game and every training session will make me more confident. We'll keep on doing what we’re doing. There's still a lot of work ahead before I get back to where I was.”
Debuts for Rode and Bernat
Sebastian Rode also felt the game in Memmingen was “a bit special” as he appeared for the first time in the famous red shirt. “It's not every day you play the Dream Game in front of a 10,000 crowd,” acknowledged the newcomer. Sebastian also felt the standard of play was more than reasonable in the circumstances. “There were a few decent players on the opposing team. It was a very good game to get us back into it,” the 23-year-old commented.
Rode played a half, but Bernat completed the full 90 minutes. “I'm very happy with that for a first game,” said the Spaniard after his maiden appearance for “a terrific team”. Professionals taking on their own fans was “totally unusual” back in his home country, Bernat reflected, “but it's a great idea to have the fans play their idols. I really liked it.” Everyone was a winner after the 2014 edition of the Dream Game.