FC Bayern’s 4-1 DFB Pokal success over Preussen Munster was the happy scene of Holger Badstuber’s return to competitive action, some 624 days after he first injured his cruciate ligament.
But just what does his return to the fray mean for Die Roten in the 2014/15 campaign?
Firstly FC Hollywood will have another centre-half of quality to call upon, for all that his return to top-flight action is sure to be a prudently-administered, gradual process.
A Bundesliga winner, World Cup bronze-medallist and Champions League runner-up before his injury, he has scaled the heights, yet potentially has so much more to give at the age of 25.
While Badstuber may have sat out a glorious 2012/13, he was an automatic selection in 2011/12, the season in which Jupp Heynckes laid the foundations for one of the greatest campaigns in the club’s history.
Notably he enjoyed a mutually-beneficial relationship with Jerome Boateng at the heart of the FCB backline, as part of a central defensive duo, going 12 straight matches without concession across all competitions.
Upon the academy product’s return he was pitched in alongside both his fellow Die Mannschaft international and Dante, as part of a three-man backline.
It was the second competitive match in succession that Josep Guardiola’s charges had lined up in the formation, suggesting the a-la-mode rig has a place in the FC Bayern playbook this term.
With Javier Martinez sustaining a knee injury that could keep him out for as many as seven months, Badstuber must expect game-time if his manager perseveres with the configuration, whether new signings arrive or not.
FCB are rated as short as 5/4 to successfully complete their conquest of a third consecutive domestic double in 2014/15.
If they are to do so Badstuber could be expected to make a sizeable contribution somewhat earlier than ideal as one of only three purpose-built centre-halves on the first team books.