Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan is delighted to be nearing a return to action after a nightmare spell on the sidelines through injury.
Germany attacking midfielder Gundogan was restricted to just three appearances for Dortmund last season due to a back problem that forced him to miss his country's successful World Cup campaign in Brazil.
But the 23-year-old has now resumed light training and is expected to make his comeback within a month.
And Gundogan is thrilled to be back preparing for the new Bundesliga season after the most difficult spell of his young career.
"I've not been as happy as I am now in a long time," Gundogan told Welt am Sonntag.
"It's fantastic to be able to train with the team again, even if I'm only restricted to running exercises."
Gundogan admitted that his prolonged lay-off left him unable to enjoy his personal life and not wanting to leave his home.
"I just didn't want to go out of the house," he added.
"My thoughts revolved around when I would be able to be fit again. I couldn't enjoy anything else in life."
Viewed as one of the most promising players in Germany, Gundogan would have been expected to be included in his country's World Cup squad if not for injury.
Instead, he was left to watch from home while his compatriots claimed a fourth world title, something which the former Nuremberg man could take little joy from.
"I would have been there and now I would have been world champion," he added.
"I missed this great tournament and that's not a nice feeling. I've lost a whole year."
After beating arch-rivals Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup, Dortmund open their Bundesliga campaign against Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday.
|Schweinsteiger re-signs with Chicago Fire for 2018|
|Juve trying everything to sign Can, says Marotta|
|Rooney convinced me to join Everton – Walcott|
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|
|Ronaldinho retires – A shining light of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Ronaldinho retires – a World Cup and Ballon d´Or among Brazil great´s prizes|
|World Cup glory and Bernabeu magic - Ronaldinho´s best moments for Barca and Brazil|
|Ligue 1 Review: Balotelli at the double as Payet shines and Malcom toils|
|Pato still dreaming of World Cup selection|
|FA Cup Review: Iheanacho makes VAR history, kit confusion reigns|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: PSG, Man City drive record-breaking spending|
|Conte packing in homework as Chelsea games stack up|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: Manchester United record highest revenue but largest debt|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: The headlines in transfers, wages and revenues|
|Iheanacho scores English football´s first VAR goal|
|Materazzi not surprised by Coutinho transfer fee|
|Ronaldinho retires - Brazil and Barca great plans 2018 farewell|
|Koziello swaps Nice for Cologne|
|Simeone ready to unleash Costa and Vitolo alongside Griezmann|
|Lambert ´never thought´ he would return to Premier League|
|Wenger ´very aggressive´ towards referee Dean, says FA report|
|Reported Arsenal target Malcom starts for Bordeaux vs Caen|
|Valverde not making big deal of Dembele´s latest Barca blow|
|Arsenal will have a ´hard time´ signing Malcom|
|Ronaldo and Madrid nominated for Laureus awards|
|Nantes´ Diego Carlos brands Chapron clash ´historic´|
|This is not important - Conte unconcerned if substitutions upset Hazard|
|Conte ´doesn´t think´ Chelsea have pursued Sanchez|
|Emery hints at Neymar return against Dijon|
|Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola|
|Tevez: CSL spell was a holiday|
|Mignolet considering Liverpool future|
|Fred waiting for Guardiola call amid Man City speculation|
|Inter confident but patient over Rafinha|
|Giggs had counselling after Old Trafford exit|
|Neville: Mourinho would happily swap Mkhitaryan for Sanchez|
|Man United becoming Pogba´s team – Mourinho|
|Can ´talking with everyone´ but hints at Liverpool stay|