Bayern Munich have welcomed striker Ivica Olic back to training, with the Croatian hot-shot admitting he has been counting down the days after nearly eight months out with a knee injury.
Olic returned to full training on Tuesday, seven and a half months after surgery to repair meniscus and cartilage damage to his left knee.
"I've been waiting almost eight months to train with the team again and I'm delighted I managed the whole session," he said after the 90-minute session, having made his last appearance for Bayern on 26 October. "I hope I continue making progress, and that I can prepare well for the season."
Bayern's new head coach Jupp Heynckes said he is delighted to see the striker make his long-awaited return. "I really like players like Ivica Olic," said Heynckes. "He's a team player, he always gets stuck in, he never gives up, he gives his all for the team, and he's a positive influence on the field."
Having spent months on a sports rehabilitation programme, Olic is now determined to recover his peak form as the 31-year-old faces plenty of competition for a place next season. Germany striker Mario Gomez netted 28 goals in 32 league games last season and Munich have also signed 22-year-old forward Nils Petersen from second division Energie Cottbus.
Olic has five weeks to fight his way into contention for the team prior to the German Cup first round tie away to Eintracht Braunschweig on 1 August, with the Bundesliga season set to start on Friday 5 August. The Croatia veteran has won more than 70 caps for his country, having made his debut in 2002.