Leroy Sane is said to be optimistic of making his return from injury in time for Manchester City’s Champions League second round of 16 leg with Real Madrid in March.
The Germany international has been sidelined ever since picking up the anterior cruciate problem during City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool back in August.
Sane is not expecting to be available for the Citizen’s first leg at the Etihad but has increased the intensity of his rehabilitation in recent weeks.
Despite the seriousness of the injury, City have always been confident he would return to the squad before the end of the season and it now appears as if he could be available for what is likely to be a crucial second leg tie.
The Telegraph report that Sane began working on the training pitches before Christmas as he completed the first phase of rehab without a hitch.
Should Sane make a return as expected, it’s unlikely he would be able to help the Citizens defend their Premier League title, having already conceded a 14 point gap to champions elect Liverpool, though he could play a role in City’s cup efforts.
Despite his injury, speculation over the winger’s future has refused to dissipate. Bayern Munich have been consistently linked with a big money move for the former Schalke player, while Guardiola himself has admitted he cannot control Sane’s future.
With the title race all but over, Guardiola will be aiming to bring a first Champions League title back to the Etihad and being able to rely on Sane again will be a huge boost.
Europe’s elite club competition has been the scene of many a disappointment for City over the years, with last season’s quarter final exit to Tottenham especially tough to take. They have previously been knocked out of the tournament by Liverpool, Monaco and upcoming opponents Real.