- Boateng made comeback in Bayern's win over Frankfurt.
- First Bundesliga appearance since 19 November.
- Beset by injury throughout 2016.
The 28-year-old Germany international completed 25 second-half minutes in the 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 24 - the next big step on the long road to recovery.
"It was an unbelievable moment that I'd been waiting for for three months," Boateng said after replacing Javi Martinez in the 65th minute at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. "I didn't set any fixed dates for my comeback, but I wasn't short of motivation because I really wanted to be back on the pitch. I just want to stay fit and help the team."
Watch: Jerome Boateng discusses his long-awaited comeback:
Boateng's injury torment began in January 2016 when he suffered a thigh tear in a game against former club Hamburg. He returned in late April, but missed the first two games of the new campaign due to a torn muscle bundle sustained in Germany's UEFA EURO 2016 semi-final defeat to France.
The injury curse struck again in the form of a shoulder problem in November 2016, and surgery followed on a torn pectoral tendon before the year was out. All told, Boateng made just ten Bundesliga appearances over the course of 2016.
"He had a lot of injuries in the last 15 months, he was never fully fit for long," explained Bayern and Germany teammate Mats Hummels. "The most important thing now is that Jerome is fit and finds his form. With the quality he has, the rest will follow."
In truth, Boateng had little to do after entering the fray against Frankfurt. Bayern were already three goals to the good by that point, but the overall performance was far from perfect by their own polished standards.
"The first half was pretty sketchy," admitted soon-to-be-retired captain Philipp Lahm. "We weren't focussed at all and gave the ball away far too often in our build-up play."
Watch: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski on his brace against Frankfurt:
The final score painted over the very minor cracks Lahm alluded to, but there can be little doubt that Bayern - as front runners in three competitions - are going to need all hands on deck in the months ahead. In that regard, Boateng's return could not have come at a more opportune juncture in the season.
"I don't have a first, second or third choice at centre-back," said Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti. "I have three fantastic central defenders and I'm going to need them all in the coming games. I won't play all three together, though. Two will play, one will sit out. That's the best way to keep them fit and injury-free."
Right now, that is all the returning Boateng will want to hear.