Corentin Tolisso is confident he will "play games for Bayern Munich again this season" as the FIFA World Cup winner targets a return from his serious knee injury before the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
In the wake of helping France scale the summit of world football in Russia last summer, Tolisso had been expected to play a central role in Bayern Munich's Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League challenges this season.
Instead, his teammates have eased to the top of the league table while he has spent the last half-year working his way back to fitness after suffering a knee ligament injury in the Matchday 3 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Watch: What Bayern Munich have been missing this season with Tolisso out
Bayern have just eight Bundesliga games remaining this season, but Tolisso is sure he will pull on the iconic red shirt again this term, even if he is wary of rushing back into action.
"I don't want to go as quickly as possible, because I want to be as fit as possible, but I'm sure that I'll play games for Bayern again this season," said the 24-year-old, who was a 2017 summer arrival from Lyon.
"I haven't looked at my recovery plan at all up to now, because I would start to think about things too much."
Recovery from the first major setback of his career has been a slog though for the France international midfielder, who will watch from the sidelines this weekend when Bayern take on title rivals Borussia Dortmund.
The sapping routine of months of gym work and medical treatment was finally broken at Bayern's winter training camp in Doha when Tolisso was able to get back out onto the pitch even if it was not to work with the rest of Niko Kovac's squad.
"Suddenly I was like a different person. Finally to feel the grass under my feet and to be out in the fresh air," he explained. "For four months, I felt like I was in prison."
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