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Holger’s perfect day

Badstuber returns to league action

Fortunately we have a battery of statistics in football these days, otherwise the world might not have noticed that this particular player had been absent for so long. Holger Badstuber returned to Bundesliga action after a layoff lasting 629 days, but the defender’s accomplished performance made it seem he had never been away.

“Sensational!” declared Philipp Lahm, “it's just great seeing him back on the pitch. He's been working towards it a long time.” Badstuber was a commanding presence both in the air and on the ground in the 2–1 victory over the Wolves. The 25-year-old finished with the best tackling stats, losing only one of his 20 challenges, and he also delivered a number of his trademark diagonal passes from deep.

“Fantastic,” agreed Matthias Sammer, although the board director for sport insisted he was not surprised. “I see him do this every day in training.” Sammer is certain the defender will keep getting better: “He's already at a good level but he expects even more of himself. He'll improve with every day in training.”

Robben’s pride

Arjen Robben scored what proved to be winning goal and turned in an excellent performance, but after the match he was even more delighted for “my friend Holger. He’s back! I'm proud of him. He deserves huge respect!”

Badstuber received rapturous applause from the 71,000 crowd prior to kick-off, but after the final whistle he confessed to exhaustion following his first match at the Allianz Arena since December 2012. It had been “very exciting but very tough,” he commented, “but I'm totally happy. It's wonderful to come back and play in front of our home crowd after such a long time out, and we've won as well. That makes it a perfect day for me.”

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