Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann is ready to end Christoph Metzelder's 32-month exile from the national team by recalling the BV Borussia Dortmund defender for Wednesday's friendly against China in Hamburg.
World Cup finalist
The 24-year-old centre-back impressed during his country's run to the final of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but due to the achilles problems which kept him out of UEFA EURO 2004™, he won the last of his 16 caps in February 2003.
Metzelder's injury misery reached its nadir with a 2003/04 campaign spent on the sidelines, and he was limited to 16 Bundesliga appearances last season. This term, however, he has been ever-present for Dortmund in eight matches so far, and his rehabilitation comes just in time for Germany.
Klinsmann's team have conceded 16 goals in seven games - including Saturday's 2-1 defeat in Turkey - with the coach trying three different partners for Per Mertesacker in central defence. "He has got his form back to a high enough level for the Bundesliga," said Klinsmann. "Now it is our job to make sure he gets back to full international form."
'Fulfilment of a dream'
Metzelder, however, could be forgiven for just wanting to enjoy the moment. "It will be the fufilment of a dream, but people should not expect miracles from me," he said.
'Coming full circle'
"It is ten months since I made my original return in a reserve-team game and now the circle is closed," Metzelder continued. "It is a comeback I wasn't banking on. When you have been in danger of having to give up your career at an early age, you know that's the most stressful situation you are going to face."
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