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Back after five months

FCB camp celebrates Badstuber’s return

A crowd of reporters was already waiting expectantly when Holger Badstuber emerged from the Allianz Arena home dressing room and headed for the Mixed Zone. After an agonising 154 days without a competitive appearance the FC Bayern centre-half made a remarkable comeback in Saturday’s 8-0 victory over Hamburger SV and was much in demand from the sports media as a result.

“It was terrific,” said Badstuber after successfully returning to the field of play, where he was last seen in the 2-0 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 3. The 25-year-old sustained a serious thigh injury in that match and was forced to the sidelines for five months, but his troubles are now over. “I felt good, and that’s important in itself,” the Bayern youth product stated. “It gives me something to build on.”

Badstuber slotted seamlessly into his team’s breathtaking performance on Saturday. He was the only outfield player to win all of his challenges for possession, nine in all, and was second only to Bastian Schweinsteiger for touches of the ball with 117 to the midfielder’s 122. “Thanks to his fantastic left foot, Holger is one of the best defenders in the world in the build-up,” enthused Schweinsteiger. “You can see what he brings to our play.”

Holger: I still need time

Pep Guardiola was equally pleased. “We’re all delighted for Holger. He has many great qualities. He’s good in the air and quick, but he has truly outstanding quality in the build-up. I hope he can now train, train and train, and play, play and play.” Badstuber said he was grateful “for the faith shown in me for 90 minutes.” He added that his aim for the next few weeks is “to put myself forward.”

The comeback kid has no intention of overdoing it. “It’s another step back towards where I was,” he remarked, “but I know I definitely need more time.” Nevertheless, the 25-year-old is keen to help the team in whatever ways he can. “If I can give any input I’ll do it to the best of my ability,” he promised. All his team-mates are pleased he has recovered so well, as Schweinsteiger confirmed: “We’re delighted to have him back!”