Aron Johannsson close to return for Werder Bremen

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United States international Aron Johannsson has been struck with injury after injury over the past four years, but the 28-year-old could be nearing a return to the Werder Bremen squad soon.

Johannsson, who has missed the entire season due to ankle problems that finally required surgery in November, “could be in squad contention again soon” according to Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt. The Bremen boss said in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s match against FC Mainz that Johannsson has made “so much progress” and is nearing his return.

Since joining the Bundesliga club in 2015 from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, Johannsson has made just 29 total appearances across all competitions thanks to hip, knee, and ankle injuries. The owner of 19 international caps and a spot on the 2014 World Cup roster, Johannsson has not played for the United States since September of 2015 largely due to his plethora of injuries.

A month ago, Johannsson told the official Bundesliga website, “My foot still stiffens up sometimes, but I wouldn’t call it painful. I’ve trained a lot recently, doing two sessions per day six days a week. I’m well prepared. The plan is for me to take part in full training regularly in a couple of weeks.”

However, it wasn’t always like that for Johannsson, who has dealt with serious pain over the past few years, even considering retirement. “I still had a lot of pain after seven months,” Johannsson said to the Bundesliga website regarding his latest ankle problem. “Then I had one of those rare bad days. I was at home and said to my wife, ‘maybe it’s the end of the line. I’ll have to see what else I can do’. I briefly thought about ending my career, but thankfully she was able to calm me down and told me I needed to be patient. The next day I was in a good mood again.”

Unfortunately for Johannsson, the competition is fierce at Werder Bremen up front. Even with 40-year-old Claudio Pizarro picking up a hamstring injury, fellow US international Josh Sargent was relegated to the bench in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with Milot Rashica and Johannes Eggestein starting up front. Rashica picked up a goal in the win to support a brace from captain Max Kruse. Still, with three league matches over the next week, Johannsson could potentially find a way in.