The Belgian trained with the team and could play a part in City’s tie against Atalanta …
The Belgian has established himself as a crucial cog in a star-studded line-up and his return is bound to help his team during a relatively rough phase.
De Bruyne has fallen victim to injuries multiple times during his City career, most recently after their 3-1 win over Everton last month. This saw the Premier League champions to miss him in their hard-fought win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and a shocking defeat against Wolves in the Premier League.
De Bruyne also played only 33 minutes in City’s other defeat this season – a 3-2 loss against Norwich. The defending champions are eight points behind Liverpool after just eight games and could slip out of the title race earlier than expected if they fail to get back on the right path soon.
At a time like this, it helps that one of the most influential players in the squad has returned from injury ahead of a demanding list of fixtures. While City will want to keep one foot on the pedal in the Premier League, they must also ensure consistency in the Champions League where the risk factor is higher, given the format of the tournament.
Pep Guardiola’s side have always been criticised for poor show in Europe and a slip-up in the group stages will not be taken kindly. De Bruyne must hence make it his onus to propel his side to the last-16 as group winners.
In fact, the 28-year-old was City’s best player during their Quarter-final clash against Tottenham last season. They missed the midfielder in the first leg and were forced to take a 1-0 deficit to the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne returned for the second leg and provided a hat-trick of assists to help his team to a 4-3 win but Spurs progressed on away goals. He has shown in the past that he can deliver on the biggest stage. His return from injury is indeed a blessing for City amid these challenging times.