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World champion returns

Boateng happy and fired up after comeback

Pool, sauna, massage: after 68 intense minutes against Gladbach Jérôme Boateng reported for regeneration therapy on Sunday morning. “I was very happy to be out on the pitch again,” reported FCB's defensive pillar, who had been sidelined for more than three months. “But it's clear that I'm not yet back at the level I had before the injury. It was too early for the full 90 minutes.”

Boateng turned in a decent overall display as the pivot between Serdar Tasci and Mehdi Benatia in the 1-1 draw against Gladbach. The centre-back topped the stats by winning 67 percent of his tackles. “His movements were good, he played good vertical passes,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge observed from the stands. Boateng showed that he is an option for the return against Atlético. “He's ready. But I don't know what starting line-up the coach will opt for.”

Recharging the batteries

Naturally, Pep Guardiola declined to reveal his plans on Saturday. “We have to wait and see how he copes with this match,” the Catalan commented. Boateng too is aware that a Champions League semi-final tie is different from Bundesliga routine: “The pace will be much higher. If I play I'll hit the gas and give my all.”

Just like his team-mates, Boateng has not given up on the final: “We're very, very strong at home. We'll build on that.” The Bavarians aim to put Atlético under pressure with the support of a 70,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena, but without attacking recklessly. Comeback kid Boateng would like to help his team: “I'll try to recover as much as possible and recharge my batteries.”

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