After seven months on the sidelines, FC Schalke 04 defender Matija Nastasic has returned to full training with the Royal Blues' first team having overcome a torn achilles tendon.
Read: Schalke 2-1 Gladbach match report
The Serbian centre-back was only 17 minutes into his first full season with Andre Breitenreiter’s side when he picked up the injury against SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 1. Schalke went on to win the encounter 3-0, but it was a bittersweet afternoon for Nastasic.
"I was gutted to have to come off so early," the 22-year-old told Schalke's official website. "I was in great physical condition and at full fitness. I wanted to help my team. Unfortunately it happened very differently and it was very frustrating. But that's football, sometimes things like this happen."
Schalke have pulled up to fourth in recent weeks with usual defensive midfielder Roman Neustädter deputising with aplomb in central defence. With only seven games of the 2015/16 season remaining, Nastasic remains confident he can return to action before the end of the campaign.
"This is the first injury that has kept me out for more than half a year, and I hope it's the last,'" said Nastasic. "I already feel a lot better now than I did at the US camp (during the winter break). I'm working hard to try and complete my comeback this season."