Lukas Rupp: "I am finally back"

Last Saturday’s match with Hamburger SV saw the return of Lukas Rupp to the TSG matchday squad – after 120 days out. He spoke to us about his comeback, the tough times experienced, the upcoming game with Gladbach and the rest of the season.

Lukas, you’re back…

Lukas Rupp: I am indeed, finally. If I am being honest I did not expect to get on the pitch on Saturday. I was very pleased to be in the squad and when the boss sent me to warm up in the first half I thought: ‘Maybe I will get a quick run out.’ It was great to be out there again. It would have been better for the team if we had won or even taken a point but nonetheless it was a good day for me personally.

How far along the road to full recovery are you?

Rupp: I’m not 100% yet, but I do feel good. I am finding that my fitness is improving. The 30 minutes against Hamburg were no problem and I believe in myself. Hopefully I can get some more game time at the weekend.

There were 120 days between the Frankfurt game and this one in Hamburg. Did you think you would be out for so long?

Rupp: I took the knock on the knee in the Frankfurt game. I thought maybe I would miss two days. I wanted to just not run for a couple of days and then get going again in the days after the game. I did a sprint test on Tuesday and I was sure I would be okay. But I noticed pretty quickly that it was not going to work. Then we just took it week by week. The doctor kept saying that it could go one way or the other. Two or three weeks was my personal feeling and then all of a sudden the first half of the season was over. I went away and things got better again and I was looking forward to training again in 2017. I arrived, ran a bit and quickly realised things still were not right. It is so frustrating it has taken until now to return.

In such a slow and frustrating time for you, what helped you to stay positive?

Rupp: It was hard to watch the boys week in-week out in the league and not be able to help them but just watch. What annoyed me the most was the fact I had no pain by moving normally it was only when I ran – and when I did so the pain came pretty quickly. Sometimes I thought that the pain would simply go away. When the pain finally did go we took our time with getting it moving it again. That was a difficult time because I could not do very much. Running and cycling were painful and leg training was also not working. I could only work my upper body and swim. The treatment was horrible. Otmar Rütsch, our rehab coach, helped me a lot during this phase, all the physios did. The prevention therapist Christian Neitzert kept encourgaing me. My family and friends were also great. They all told me I could use the break to make sure I was ready to give everything on my return.

What are your personal goals for the end of the season?

Rupp: I want to play in every game, and get 100% fit and simply be there for every minute.

Last week you met Markus Kuhn in Zuzenhausen. Tell us about him.

Rupp: That was a cool meeting. When I was fifteen I was always pretending to be him in the garden. He had an amazing career, and was in the some of the best teams in the world. Markus weights 135 kilos and is still a machine even at the end of his career. He is agile, is so powerful and still so quick over the opening metres. He never had much to do with the ball, I could see that when he threw it to me. It looked like me (laughs)

Borussia Mönchengladbach are the visitors on Saturday, How do you rate them?

Rupp: They are a good, very strong ball-playing team, who come forward at pace and have a lot of height at the back. A good team, who will demand the best of us.f we don’t perform well we will come home with nothing.

You played in Gladbach for three years, is there still a connection there?

Rupp: Yes, there is. Some of the boys are still there from when I was and we played together. In and around the team not a lot has changed. I know a lot of people and it is a special match for me as a result. Julian Korb, Tony Jantschke and Patrick Herrmann are still good friends of mine. I am looking forward to the game.

What the aims going into the game?

Rupp: Obviously we want to get the three points in front of our own fans.

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