- Bellarabi training again with Leverkusen.
- Underwent thigh surgery in September.
- "We want to climb the standings."
Despite having only just returned from a near-four-month spell on the sidelines with a serious adductor injury, there appears to be very little rust on the gears of Bayer 04 Leverkusen speed demon Karim Bellarabi.
The Germany international winger posted the fastest time and was the last man standing in the lactate tests at Bayer's first team session of their winter training camp in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday - and now has his sights firmly set on regaining full match fitness as swiftly as possible.
Watch: Highlights of Karim Bellarabi's last Bundesliga appearance prior to his injury:
"I feel really good and there's no sign of the injury," Bellarabi explained. "I don't have any problems on that front. If you want to put a percentage on it then perhaps I'm at 95 or 96 at the moment. I'll definitely make up the rest."
Bellarabi's return will come as welcome news for a Leverkusen side currently some eight points off the top-four pace after 16 matches. The 26-year-old registered six goals and 11 assists last season, but managed just 93 minutes of the 2016/17 campaign before being stretchered off in the Matchday 2 win over Hamburger SV.
"I just wanted one thing: to get back on the pitch as soon as possible," Bellarabi recalled, having undergone surgery in September. "That's why I trained so hard every day, but it's been worth it. The facilities here in Orlando are great and it's perfect for us to prepare for the second half of the season."
Leverkusen have under a week left of their winter training camp in the Sunshine State, where they will contest the Florida Cup for the third successive year, before returning to German soil to ramp up preparations for the Rückrunde and their Matchday 17 encounter at home to third-placed Hertha Berlin.
"The fact is we're ninth at the moment, but we want to climb the standings as quickly as possible," Bellarabi affirmed. "We want to do our best during the second half of the season and then we'll see what happens at the end of it. We'll fight all the way!"
Watch: Bellarabi scored what at the time was the fastest goal in Bundesliga history, back in August 2014: