Borussia Dortmund will be without Germany winger Marco Reus for their first Bundesliga match of 2018 on Sunday at home to Wolfsburg, but could welcome back Mario Goetze.
Dortmund’s first league match after the winter break is still too early for Reus, 28, who tore knee ligaments in the German Cup final last May.
Although he is back in training, there is “no possibility” of Reus facing mid-table Wolfsburg, according to head coach Peter Stoeger.
Likewise captain Marcel Schmelzer is out with a calf injury and midfielder Raphael Guerreiro has an injured thigh.
“Anyone who knows me, knows how impatient I am,” Reus told German daily Bild.
“But I am back after a bad injury and I have no desire to have anymore problems (by coming back too soon).”
World Cup winner Goetze, 25, is also training again after an ankle injury he suffered last November, but has no guarantee of starting against Wolfsburg.
“He was gone for a long time and a few training sessions don’t guarantee that he can play over the 90 minutes,” said Stoeger.
“Already after a few days in training you could see what you can’t take away from him: his qualities.
“But we have to see how physically fit he is.”
There is some good news in that nine of the squad, who were struck down with stomach complaints at the start of the week at the winter training camp in Marbella, are back in training.
Stars such as Roman Burki, Marc Bartra, Andre Schuerrle, Christian Pulisic and Nuri Sahin were all laid low after reportedly eating contaminated chicken skewers in Spain.
“The lads who had the problem are all back in training and completed the full programme,” said Stoeger.
Dortmund are up to third in the table, 13 points behind leaders Bayern Munich who are at Leverkusen on Friday, after winning their last two league games of 2017 under Stoeger while Wolfsburg are mid-table.
Stoeger managed to stop the rot following the dismissal of Peter Bosz, who was sacked after Dortmund went eight league games without a win having held a five-point lead in the table at the end of September.
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