Summary

  • Aranguiz made full Bundesliga debut on Matchday 30.
  • Joined Leverkusen from Internacional last summer.
  • Spent eight months out with Achilles tear.

After almost eight months on the sidelines with a torn Achilles tendon in his left foot, Chile international midfielder Charles Aranguiz is making up for lost time at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

The 27-year-old has featured in Die Werkself's last three matches and on Saturday made his full Bundesliga debut in a clinical 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

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'Good for my confidence'

"All the time on the pitch helps me," Aranguiz told a group of Chilean journalists after a win which took Leverkusen above Hertha Berlin into third place. "Be it five minutes, 15 minutes - I'm trying to enjoy it all. I felt good today. At the start it was quite tough because I'd spent a lot of time out and it was a very tactical encounter. It was tough to find space, but it was good for my confidence."

Modesty to one side, Aranguiz's performance itself was not illustrative of a man lacking in self-belief. Indeed, despite going into the game with only 19 Bundesliga minutes under his belt, the 2015 Copa America winner completed more passes (46), won more tackles (nine) and covered more ground (12.35 kilometres) than any other player on the pitch at the BayArena.

Watch: Match reaction to Leverkusen vs Eintracht

© gettyimages / Lars Baron

'The club have treated me well'

Such statistics should not be underestimated, least of all given the severity of the injury Aranguiz suffered only a week after moving to Leverkusen from Brazilian outfit Internacional SC last August. Surgery and suffering were inevitable, but player and club have handled the nightmare scenario with tremendous sangfroid.

"After a serious injury, it's important to be back playing again," Aranguiz explained. "The club have treated me very well ever since I arrived. They made an effort to understand Spanish and day to day I feel their support. My family came here too. Every training session, every game, every minute I'm trying to enjoy. I want to make the most of the end of the season here."

Read: Chicharito injury concern

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Champions League dream

Enjoying wins in all three of his Bundesliga outings to date, Aranguiz is fulfilling his own short-term objective whilst helping Leverkusen meet theirs. Roger Schmidt's side have won their last five on the spin and are now in pole position to join FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage of next season's UEFA Champions League.

Upcoming games against top-four rivals FC Schalke 04, Hertha and Borussia Mönchengladbach will be key, but in the hard-running Aranguiz - the self-effacing talent patiently waiting to realise his "big dream" of playing in European football's elite club competition - Leverkusen have just the man to drive them over the finish line.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge