Holger Badstuber played in his first match after 594 days out injured for Bayern Munich when he tore a cruciate ligament back in December 2012.
The 25-year-old returned in a Bayern strip last Friday where he completed 58 minutes in their 3-0 win over Red Baroons Dietmannsried e.V. - his home town club. He played as the skipper in a three man defence which also featured Rafinha and David Alaba, who found the net twice.
For Holger Badstuber this was an emotional return as a sold out Fußball Arena containing 11, 150 fans came out to watch the game with many Munich fans eagerly awaiting the return of the centre back.
Injury in December 2012
Two years ago, the defender limped off in a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund after he tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee. When he tried to make his comeback he suffered a second tear which left him sidelined for even longer. After four knee operations and after just recovering from a torn thigh muscle just 11 days ago, Badstuber made his revived comeback and he has now given Pep Guardiola some long, hard thinking to do ahead of the new season.
Before Badstuber was hindered by injury, the German was considered to be one of the most talented defenders that the country had to offer. Alongside Dortmund star, Mats Hummels, he picked up 30 caps for his country.
Bayern career so far
In 2009 he made his debut after coming through the club's youth academy. He featured in the first game of the league season against Hoffenheim and from that point on featured in every game except one. His first goal, and only goal for the club, came against Borussia Mönchengladbach, with a dipping free kick.
In his first season in the starting eleven at the Allianz Arena, Badstuber picked up the Bundesliga title, the DFB-Pokal and the DFL Super Cup. His manager at the time was current Manchester United boss, Louis Van Gaal, and he was responsible for bringing him into the defence as he wanted a left footed centre back. In that season, Van Gaal told German newspaper, Bild, that he was the "best left footed defender in Germany."
Guardiola's defensive choices
With the new season fast approaching, Guardiola, like many other managers, will be experimenting to see what his best defensive line up will be and with the return of Badstuber, the Spaniard might be having a headache.
Bayern have already recruited former Valencia left back, Juan Bernat, on a five-year deal which raises the question whether Guardiola is looking to push Alaba forward into a midfield role so that he can slip in the 21 year-old Spaniard.
With that being said, Badstuber, who has been highlighted as a left footed defender also, could also fill the full-back role instead of being immediately enforced into the central pairing. It would be interesting to see if the former-Barcelona coach opts for a three man defence next season following his experiment last Friday, bringing in Badstuber alongside Jerome Boateng and Dante thus allowing the retiring German captain, Philipp Lahm to maintain his position in midfield with Bastian Schweinsteiger.