Sinsheim - 1899 Hoffenheim's Matchday 5 encounter away to VfB Stuttgart was the last match in which Boris Vukcevic featured before sustaining life-threatening threatening injuries in a car crash. Ahead of this season's second Swabaian derby, the 22-year-old has issued a rallying cry to his team-mates and the fans.

20 weeks since the awful accident, Vukcevic is still in the rehabilitation phase of his recovery at a local clinic. It is here that the midfielder is recovering from a severe head injury, which resulted in the youngster being put in a medically-induced coma for several weeks.

Keeping the faith

In the lead up to the encounter with local rivals Stuttgart, though, Hoffenheim diector Andreas Müller was able to paint a positive picture of the progress the German Under-21 international has been making in rehab. "It was very moving to be able to see Boris again and speak with him," said Müller after visiting Vukcevic at the rehabilitation centre in Sinsheim. "He's certainly still got a way to go, but he is very confident and has a clear vision for moving forward. We're all thankful to hear of this development and will continue to give him all the support he needs."

Vukcevic also had a message for his 1899 team-mates as well as the supporters, which Müller made public on Thursday: "I look forward to every single Matchday and am convinced that the team will be able to secure their safety this season. I want to ask all the fans to keep your fingers crossed for yourselves and for Hoffenheim, and help the team where only you can."