Ilkay Gundogan: Recovering from back injury like a personal accolade
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has said that overcoming his back injury to return to the Germany team was like winning a personal accolade.
Gundogan played the full 90 minutes as Joachim Low's world champions drew 2-2 with Australia in a friendly in Kaiserslautern.
The 24-year-old suffered the back injury while on international duty in August 2013, when he was taken off before half-time in a friendly against Paraguay -- also played in Kaiserslautern.
Gundogan, who only returned to regular first-team football in October, told Tagesspiegel: "That's peculiar, isn't it? Of course, everything came back to me again.
"But I am delighted to back, and I hope that I have put all my injury problems behind me and can have a fresh start in the national team."
Gundogan, who underwent back surgery last spring, explained: "Afterwards, I was allowed to get up fairly quickly and take a few steps. It was such a liberating feeling -- it felt like a personal accolade.
"When I suffered the injury, I wasn't even 23. But I thought it was a given for me to lead such a privileged life. The setback made me realise that it was not a given."
The injury meant Gundogan missed Germany's World Cup triumph in Brazil, something he described as "a huge blow."
On Monday, kicker reported that there were strong indications that the player, under contract at Dortmund until 2016, would put pen to paper on a new deal. He had kept quiet about reports that another contract was in the pipeline earlier this year.