Bundesliga: 4 players who benefited from the break
- These players were supposed to miss several Bundesliga games in normal circumstances.
- However, the pandemic-induced break ensured they didn't miss out on much.
Bundesliga is confirmed to return on Saturday, 16 May after been given the green light by the German government, and football fans' elation know no bounds.
Devoid of any meaningful footballing action since the past eight weeks, the news was certainly music to their ears as live top-flight action returns once again.
But as much as the pandemic-induced break had discomfited people across the globe, some players in the Bundesliga surely benefited from it. They are the ones who were out for a lengthy period of time with injuries, but the league's suspension offered an opportunity to recover without missing more games and return to action before the end of the season.
Let's look at four such beneficiaries of the suspension of Bundesliga action, and who are now in line to return to action as the season resumes.
#4. Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
The American international announced himself to the Bundesliga in an emphatic fashion as he starred for Dusseldorf in the 3-1 opening game victory over Werder Bremen. And even though the collective results have deteriorated ever since, Zack Steffen's performance haven't. Until injuries sidelined him at the turn of the year, he came second for most saves in the league with 67.
The 24-year old was on the verge of missing almost the entirety of the home stretch of the campaign, but the delay certainly allowed him to recuperate without missing more games than what he already had. With the German top-flight set to return to action next Saturday, Steffen will surely be raring to get back between the sticks again.
#3. Salif Sane (Schalke)
The impact that Salif Sane has had for Schalke in the Bundesliga this season can be ascertained by seeing how the amount of goals conceded went up from one per match until matchday nine to 1.7 thereafter. That's because the Senegalese international sustained a knee injury and missed all the games before the league came to a standstill.
Physically imposing, athletic, and strong in the air, his presence at the heart of the backline made Schalke relatively stoic. Without him in the XI, the Royal Blues were all at sea. He was supposed to miss the entire season after undergoing a surgery, but looks like he is set to comeback into the squad in time for the final part of the campaign.
#2. Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
The talismanic Borussia Dortmund skipper was having a successful year personally, before the old phantom of injuries reared its ugly head once again. This time, Marco Reus sustained a muscle injury at the start of February that saw him miss seven games in all competitions, including the Champions League defeat to PSG.
He was supposed to return after about six weeks, but the league's deferral meant Reus had additional time to recover and is now expected to slot straight back into the XI in the derby versus Schalke. He has already scored 11 times and made six further assists from 19 games in the Bundesliga, and his return will be a massive boost to Dortmund's Bundesliga title aspirations.
#1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
This was turning out to be Robert Lewandowski's best year as he had been in a league of his own since the beginning. The prolific marksman's imperious run yielded 39 goals for Bayern Munich in all competitions, including 25 in the Bundesliga, until he sustained an injury after the Chelsea-game in the Champions League. He was supposed to miss up to a month's action but, luckily for him, everything came to a halt soon.
In normal circumstances, this would have opened up an opportunity for Timo Werner, his closest rival with 21 goals, to steal a march in the race for the Golden Boot. But the delay ensured his lead in the scoring charts is intact, and he will now hope to add plenty more to that tally when he returns to the line-up next weekend for the final stretch of the Bundesliga.