Though he’s not explicitly stating that Yuya Osako will not be available for Saturday’s home match against the Hamburger SV, coach Peter Stöger sounds much more negative about the prospects of his Japanese attacker making an appearance this weekend than he was the week before.
Osako collided with Stuttgart keeper Przemysław Tytoń about one-third of the way into the second half of the season-opening victory and appeared to have hyper-extended his knee. After some brief medical attention, however, Osako returned to action, eventually slamming the door shut on the host team by sliding home the third effzeh goal shortly before the end of regulation time.
When Osako missed training two days later, Stöger referred to Osako’s knee problems as “nothing serious” and implied he’d be held back only as a precautionary measure.
On Tuesday, the coach again addressed Osako’s status by repeating his philosophy on favoring long-term health over short-term gains earned by rushing a player back before he’s ready.
“We will take no risk,” said Stöger. “It will soon be the international break; after that, it’s certain that he will be available.”
Also making it easier to not rush Osako back is the performance of his replacement on Saturday. Simon Zoller, also normally a striker, filled the middle of the midfield in the 4-2-3-1 rolled out to greet Wolfsburg for the home opener. In addition to scoring the only effzeh goal in the 1:1, Zoller showed a high level of engagement in Stöger’s new high press, helping the squad look much better in the draw than it had in the victory the weekend prior.