Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels is progressing well from his ankle injury, according to sporting director Michael Zorc.
Hummels has not played since suffering the setback in Germany’s 1-0 win over England in November, causing a defensive headache for coach Jurgen Klopp, who has also been without Neven Subotic due to a cruciate problem.
However, following the news that Subotic will not require further surgery on his knee, Klopp could welcome back Hummels sooner than expected.
Zorc told Bild: “Mats will increase his program now more and more. He also is on a good path.”
The absence of Hummels and Subotic, as well as injuries to the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Marcel Schmelzer, have contributed to a dip in form for Dortmund prior to the mid-season break.
Klopp’s men have won one of their last six Bundesliga matches and sit fourth in the table, 12 points off leaders Bayern Munich.
Midfielder Sebastian Kehl thinks the eventual return of Hummels and Subotic will help Dortmund climb the table in the second half of the season.
“We will soon have more quality on the pitch,” he said.
“Our goal is second place, I’m sure we can achieve it.”