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Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng targets Champions League return

After his return to Bayern Munich training this week, Boateng revealed the timetable in which he hopes he can return to action. However, both his club and country coaches want the German defender to proceed cautiously.

Jerome Boateng hopes to make the trip to Madrid next week as Bayern take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. "I hope I am in the squad," said Boateng, before Bayern's 2-0 cup victory against Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old defender returned to training on Monday after missing three months with a groin injury. Pep Guardiola has yet to commit to a timeframe in which Boateng could return to game action.

"I'll only make my decision after I see how things are," said the Spaniard on Monday. "He has been injured for three months and he needs some conditioning."

Bundesliga Bayern München Borussia Dortmund Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Fußball

Bayern Munich's defense has survived without Jerome Boateng, but his return will lift the squad

Bayern's injury crisis in defense has been eased with Javi Martinez and Medhi Benatia returning to feature in recent matches. However, Bayern conceded six goals in the last 16 and quarterfinal rounds of the Champions League, more than they had in those stages since Boateng moved to Bayern four seasons ago. With Bayern in the running for their second treble in four years, the German international is an important part of the club's defense.

“It is important for him to return in the decisive phase of the season,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “He demonstrated the importance he has in the first half of the season.”

Löw urges caution

Boateng is not only important to Bayern's title hopes, but Germany's as well. Already with a laundry list of injuries to deal with, German national team coach Joachim Löw hopes “Bayern does not throw him back into competition too quickly. After such a long injury, they need to proceed a little more cautiously.”

Germany has lost Emre Can, Julian Draxler and Bastian Schweinsteiger to injuries in recent weeks, so Boateng's return to fitness has become more important. With less than two months until the European Championship begins, the injury list has started to become a concern for Löw.

UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifikation Irland Deutschland

Jerome Boateng is one of several players Joachim Löw needs for the German national team this summer

"Bastian Schweinsteiger, Julian Draxler, Emre Can, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Höwedes - they are five players who can play an important role at the European Championship," Löw told Sky during the Laureas World Sports awards in Berlin. "They are all injured or have not played for a while now. That makes me a bit worried."

Fortunately for Löw, Höwedes returned to Schalke training on Tuesday, which means the coach could have two defenders from his World Cup team regaining fitness before the Euros. Even if they are not, he knows he will have to make adjustments when the time comes.

"You always get such problems ahead of every tournament," said Löw. "In 2014, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were injured but we managed it. But of course now I hope they'll all stay fit and their injuries won't return."

dvp/apc (AFP, SID)

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