Barcelona fans can breathe a sigh of relief over midfielder Ilkay Gundogan after the veteran star appeared to hurt his back in action for Germany during the international window.
Gundogan, who once missed nearly an entire season with Borussia Dortmund a decade ago because of a troublesome back issue, was visibly upset when he had to come off just 25 minutes into his country’s international friendly clash with France at Signal-Iduna Park.
The 32-year-old was captaining the German team on his old stomping ground when he suffered a heavy fall and was replaced by Brighton’s Pascal Gross.
Germany went on to win the game thanks to a late goal from Leroy Sane, which rendered an even later penalty from Antoine Griezmann a consolation in the end as it finished 2-1. But Barcelona supporters were more concerned about the injury status of Gundogan given that fellow midfielder Pedri is already sidelined for the next few weeks.
Interim Germany coach Rudi Voller allayed fears of a serious problem afterwards.
“Gundogan has a bruise on his back but nothing is broken,” he declared.
SPORT has since reported that Barca staff are also optimistic about the situation.
The rest of September is a busy period for Xavi’s squad. They return to La Liga action on Saturday when Real Betis arrive at the Lluis Companys in Montjuic, just three days before the 2023/24 Champions League group stage begins with visiting Belgian surprise package Royal Antwerp.
Three further La Liga games against Celta Vigo, Mallorca and Sevilla all follow before the end of the month, with October quickly commencing with a trip to Porto in the Champions League.