Wolfsburg winger Andre Schurrle has blamed his poor start to life back in the Bundesliga on the gruelling fixture schedule he had to put up with at Chelsea, claiming a lack of regular training has played havoc with his fitness and form.
The Germany international made an immediate impact by laying on two goals against Hoffenheim on his debut for Dieter Hecking's side, but has struggled to make any kind of impression in the nine games that followed his £22 million move to the Volkswagen Arena.
Schurrle remains confident he'll turn things around and eventually prove his worth to the club, but admits he's been frustrated by his failure to reproduce his best form in the aftermath of his January transfer.
"I'm still missing the last per cent," admitted the World Cup winner in an interview with Sport Bild. "At top English clubs during the season the players are hardly loaded with any training, since it's almost all about regeneration and tactics.
"In England you can get your fitness through the season with the games. At Chelsea because we had the championship, Champions League and the different club competitions, we played every three days."
Much has been made of foreign players struggling with the hectic Premier League football program - particularly during the Christmas period - and the fact that unlike other European countries there is no winter break.
Schurrle found it difficult to adjust to the rigorous regime during his 18-month spell in west London, and has clearly been negatively affected by the exhaustive exploits since leaving Jose Mourinho's squad, also citing the lack of significant break in the aftermath of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil last summer.
"In England there is no winter break," he added. "In the summer I had after the World Cup just two weeks of preparation. In January I had in the two weeks of the change almost no training because of back problems."
The 24-year-old's viewpoint is backed up by the similarly underwhelming start that Die Wolfe team-mate Kevin de Bruyne made to life in Lower Saxony. However, he's bounced back in scintillating fashion this term, netting an impressive 14 goals in all competitions so far.
Of course, the Belgium international followed a familiar career path after joining Wolfsburg from Chelsea the previous year. He was rarely afforded any opportunity to show what he could do at Stamford Bridge, but has seen his stock rise significantly in Germany and is now being touted for a big-money move away.
Time to settle
By comparison, Mohamed Salah - another of Schurrle's former Blues teammates - has hit the ground running in Italy after joining Fiorentina on loan for the rest of the season in the same window, netting six goals in eight games for the Serie 'A' outfit.
Wolfsburg supporters will remain hopeful that the World Cup winner can rediscover his best form, but might have to wait until the new campaign before really starting to see a return on the investment that was made.
Chelsea fans: Do you think Jose Mourinho was right to sell Andre Schurrle in January? Will he prove the Portuguese coach wrong by eventually lighting up the Bundesliga? Have your say below…
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