Julian Draxler has overcome a tricky post-injury spell, believes his manager.
It's not been an ideal start to 2014 for Julian Draxler. His January was racked with uncertainty as Arsenal sought to prise him away from Schalke, and he then suffered a frustrating injury.
It would rule him out for nearly the whole of February, and when he made his return for the Bundesliga side against Real Madrid - they were battered 6-1.
They followed this up with a 5-0 defeat by Bayern Munich, and Draxler was unable to make an impression in either game.
Conscious of a need for the youngster to regain fitness, Jogi Loew left him out of Germany's squad to face Chile last week, and it seems to have paid dividends.
He starred in Schalke's 4-0 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday, providing two assists - his first since November 30.
The German teenager's performance was hailed by manager Jens Keller, who claimed this recent spell which preceded the game was the toughest challenge of Draxler's short career to date, and he is all the better for it.
He told BILD: "On Julian, it was a very good performance, I am particularly please. For the first time a major injury has him thrown him back. For a creative player, it is not easy to find his rhythm."
It certainly isn't, especially against two of the most in-form sides in Europe in Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who beat Schalke by a combined score of 11-1.
Former Tottenham midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng, now of Schalke, also had positive comments regarding the €45 million man, stating: "He has shown how important he is for us."
Draxler even himself admitted he was still not at 100 per cent, but was nearing full match fitness; he completed 80 minutes in the fixture.
The attacker and the rest of his side face an impossible task when they travel to Madrid trying to turn around a 6-1 deficit from the home leg, but he can at least look to shine on the big stage - and try to justify the huge release clause in his contract and show Arsenal why he is worth the money.
image: © DerHans04