Dan-Axel Zagadou has resumed training with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and feels that his fitness is getting to a level where he is close to match return. A preseason knee injury put Zagadou on the shelf but after three months of recovery and rehab, he’s of the belief he could be match fit and available for first-team selection by the end of November.
“Three months is a long time,” Zagadou told BVB-TV. “I did part of my rehab in Paris, where they took good care of me. Then I came back to Dortmund. I worked hard, especially doing a lot of rehabilitation training because my knee first had to be completely stable. The rehab is not over yet, but I feel much better.”
Level second in the table with Bayer Leverkussen on 18 points, Borussia Dortmund is just one point shy of leaders Bayern Munich and could be given a real boost by the return to action of French centre-back Zagadou. As they get healthy, Borussia Dortmund could prove to be a very astute value play in the Bundesliga future book odds.
“We’re planning on having him in November,” Borussia Dortmund sporting director Martin Zorc told Kicker regarding Zagadou’s return to action.
Zagadou’s Injury Battles
The knee injury is the latest in a series of ailments that have recently impacted Zagadou. He suffered knee ligament damage shortly after Borussia Dortmund resumed training following the COVID-19 induced lockdown that temporarily halted the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.
That knock kept the 21-year-old out of action until the season was almost done. He was able to return for the final two games of the year, serving as a substitute in both matches.
The most recent knee injury was incurred during a preseason training camp in Switzerland.
“I don’t think I’m at 100 percent yet,” Zagadou admitted. “So far I did parts of the team training but not all of them. I train with the team and then I continue with individual work.
“The most important aim for me is get back to 100 percent fitness level and to be fully fit for action again. My knee has to be completely cured, too. Only then will I be able to help the team.
“I am really looking forward to that.”
Dortmund Rallies On
While missing being on the pitch with his teammates, Zagadou can’t help but be impressed with how the side has fared in his absence.
“We had a lot of bad luck with all these injuries in our defense,” Zagadou said. “I could have played during that time, had I been fit. It’s always a terrible time when you’re injured and can’t help the team.”
The Black and Yellows have surrendered just seven goals from eight matches. That’s second-best in the Bundesliga. Only Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig (five goals allowed in eight matches) show a better defensive record.
Watching from afar, Zagadou believes what he’s seeing from the club is an overall team commitment to sound defensive football.
“I think that the mentality has changed,” Zagadou said. “I’ve been watching the games and think that the team is defending more together. It doesn’t matter whether it’s with a line of three or a line of four. That helps the team in my opinion. That’s why we do not concede that many goals.”
Happy To Be Back At It
There’s nothing like getting stuck in at training again to fire up the juices of an injured player chomping at the bit to regain match fitness and rejoin the thick of the action.
“I have missed all this,” Zagadou said upon his resumption of training. “I’m happy to be back soon.
“It took quite some time to get back to this level. I worked very hard, building up muscles, because it is vital that my knee is completely stable. I’m not done with the process, but I feel much better now.
“I know that eventually I will get my chance to play.”
The French under-21 international has made 60 appearances for Borussia Dortmund in all competitions over the past three seasons since joining them from Paris Saint-Germain and signing a five-year contract with BVB.
“It will be a successful season if I get minutes on the pitch,” Zagadou said. “And the team needs some good results. It would be great to win a title or two . . . or even three.”