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Morales eager for first-team return in trip to Hertha Berlin

Alfredo Morales was one of Fortuna Dusseldorf’s better players to begin the 2019-20 Bundesliga season, but recently the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder has had to sit on the sidelines.

Morales picked up a hamstring injury on international duty with the USMNT in a 3-0 friendly loss to Mexico on Sept. 5th. However, the 29-year-old veteran was back in training this week ahead of Fortuna Dusseldorf’s trip to Hertha Berlin in their final league match before the October international break. The return to Berlin, the club Morales began his professional career with, has added extra motivation for the midfielder to get back into the starting lineup.

“It looks very good. It was good to train properly again this week. I’ve done a lot of adjusting so I don’t need too much time to get used to the speed and intensity,” Morales said in an interview with Express. “I gave extra effort. I am very excited about the game It would be amazing if I’m there. But I tried to stay calm and take it step by step.”

Morales made 20 first-team appearances with Hertha Berlin from 2010-13 before moving to fellow German side Ingolstadt ahead of the 2013-14 season. Since joining Dusseldorf last year, Morales has been a consistent performer for the club, totaling 25 appearances and recording two goals, including one this campaign.

Since his injury, Dusseldorf has gone 0-2-1 without Morales, which has them sitting in 14th place in the 18-team table. A tie against Wolfsburg followed up by losses to Borussia Monchengladbach and Freiburg puts the team in a position to pick up needed points and fast if it wants to get back on the right path. Morales is remaining positive about his return and the team’s chances of rebounding despite a current three-match winless streak.

“The injury was disappointing at the moment. But I know that injuries are part of it. This is part of the game,” Morales said. “The important thing is how to handle it. I am always very, very positive with everything that comes.”

“It’s silly to look at the results over the last few weeks. Even when I was still on the field against Eintracht Frankfurt, we shouldn’t have lost there. Although we played against very good opponents, we always had the chance to score. We did not make it at the end of the day.”

Hertha Berlin is 10th in the Bundesliga table, only three points higher than Dusseldorf. Back-to-back wins over Paderborn and Koln will have the hosts favored to win on Friday at the Olympiastadion, but Morales has belief that Dusseldorf can provide a tough test.

“It will be a very interesting game against Hertha. Hertha did not start as well as they wanted. We know that Hertha has quality, but we’re going there to get something,” Morales said.

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