Nearly a year after joining SC Freiburg, Socceroos winger Brandon Borrello is poised to make a long-anticipated Bundesliga debut in this weekend’s season-opener against Mainz.
With the ACL injury which sidelined him for 11 months now a distant memory, Borrello, 24, played 111 minutes and provided the assist which clinched a 1-0 extra-time win in the DFB-Pokal German Cup against Magdeburg three days ago.
He’s now ready to add his name to a rare breed - Australians to have graced the Bundesliga.
“It’s been a good pre-season. I’ve got my first official game out of the way now and I felt comfortable out there,” Borrello told The World Game.
“I slowly got into the match, things went well in the second half - the combination play was going well and I saw a lot more of the ball.
“I played the pass forward to Gian-Luca (Waldschmidt) for our goal ... and if I didn’t put my hand up now to want to play against Mainz in the first round then I probably shouldn’t be playing football.
“I’m working at 100 percent now and it’s just a matter of what the coach (Christian Streich) decides to do.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good place for the first game of the season.
“I need to keep training and playing well but ultimately it’s his decision.”
In a compelling show of faith, Freiburg signed Borrello from Kaiserslautern during his rehabilitation and he shrugged off the post-ACL cobwebs at the tail end of last season with the second team.
He’s determined to repay the confidence the Black Forest club have placed in him.
“There is a lot of pride there but it’s one thing to being at a top league and another to be playing,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean as much if you’re sitting on the bench - the goal is to always be playing and that’s when I will truly be happy with myself.
“We don’t have superstars like other teams in the division.
“What’s important is that we’re always together as a group and the goal is to stay in the Bundesliga and finish as high as possible.”
Borrello doesn’t like harking back to his injury troubles, seeing them purely as an obstacle he has vaulted past.
“I think it’s a credit to myself for sticking it out here,” he added. “It’s been 18 months since the injury.
"I’m over it now and don’t like to talk about it too much. I’m just happy to be back on the pitch.
“You can use it as an excuse for not playing last year. But that’s finished now and there are no excuses.
“It’s all down now to just performing and doing well. It’s a good feeling to step out on the pitch feeling you can trust your body 100 percent.
“That’s what I feel like I can do at the moment.”
Borrello made his Socceroos debut off the bench in June’s 1-0 friendly loss to Korea Republic in what is likely to be the first of many caps as he contemplates a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign which kicks off in Kuwait next month.
“Playing in the Bundesliga will certainly help put my name up for selection, and even if I wasn’t here I’d still feel like I can give the Socceroos something, add something to the national team,” said the Brisbane Roar product.
“I haven’t dwelt too much on it but of course I’d love to be involved and I think we’ll qualify for Qatar (2022).
“One thing that struck me being in camp with Arnie (Graham Arnold), he never used the words hopefully or possibly ... it’s more ‘we’ll be there’. And that’s what’s going to happen.
“It was a great experience in Korea - I knew most of the boys already, so it was nothing too different.”