For Fortuna Dusseldorf, the reality will stay the same. The Bundesliga club is in a relegation fight and aren’t safe for next season, despite the current campaign being on hold.
American midfielder Alfredo Morales has played a major role for the club this season, and the veteran is making sure he continues to do so in the final nine matches. Morales suffered a minor calf injury in training, but is fighting through the injury in hopes of helping Dusseldorf remain in the top-flight.
Morales is in his second season with Dusseldorf after joining in 2018 from Ingolstadt. Injuries have plagued the midfielder’s season, but when healthy Morales has brought plenty of experience to the squad. With the German Football Federation doing everything it can to keep this Bundesliga season alive, Morales has admitted his passion for the game he’s been without.
“Every athlete loves his job, I miss the competitions in the game and in training extremely,” Morales said in an interview with German outlet Express. “For me it is passion and emotion. So I was very happy when we could at least work in small groups again and I was allowed to touch the ball. I hope we can get started again soon. But the decision is not in my hands.”
Dusseldorf have struggled for most of the league season, currently sitting four points from safety with nine matches remaining. Despite sitting in the relegation playoff spot, the club is also only four points ahead of 17th place Werder Bremen who are also in a fight for their lives.
Uwe Hosler has taken over as manager, but has yet to turn around the club’s struggles with the lengthy break due to COVID-19 not helping the team’s cause either. There is talent on this roster with Rouwen Hennings, Erik Thommy, and Kenan Karaman carrying a lot of the offensive work (20 goals total).
Morales knows the club is capable of remaining safe for another season and credits his manager for letting him play freely in midfield.
“We have a lot of potential and offered really good football until the break without unfortunately bringing in the results,” Morales said. “If we pick up on that, we won’t be relegated.”
“The manager gives me a lot of freedom. We defend more forward, that suits me. I love hunting, want to cultivate the opponent and fight for the ball. The coach gives me a lot of freedom, he demands a lot of courage from me. I was not gone because I played a lot of games in the first half of the season. But not only I took steps forward, but the whole team. We have the necessary confidence.”
It will certainly be tough for Morales and the rest of the Dusseldorf squad with three of their final nine matches coming against current top three sides Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig. There is also no official restart date for the Bundesliga season, giving Morales additional time to get back to full fitness.