U.S. international John Brooks makes Wolfsburg return, comes off after 29 minutes
United States international John Brooks was substituted 29 minutes into his Wolfsburg comeback on Friday to protect him following an early booking.
Having joined Wolfsburg from Hertha Berlin for a reported transfer fee of €20 million in July, Brooks' season has been marred by injuries. He has made only eight Bundesliga appearances for his new club following a thigh tendon injury that kept him out from August until October and a knee injury sustained in December.
On Friday, amid a shortage of defenders, Brooks returned to the starting XI in the 3-0 defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach, but he was soon withdrawn by coach Bruno Labbadia following a late challenge on Gladbach forward Lars Stindl and a second foul.
"We had to act," Labbadia told reporters following the game. "He was in great danger to see a red card."
Brooks, who became the most expensive U.S. player ever when joining Wolfsburg last summer, had previously returned to team training, and Labbadia said he "did a very good job" in training.
Wolfsburg are one of three teams level on 30 points, and with three games remaining, they are battling with Mainz and Freiburg to avoid the relegation playoff against third-place 2. Bundesliga team.
The 2015 German cup winners and Bundesliga runners-up, Wolfsburg on Saturday face Hamburg, who currently trail the three teams by five points and could still overtake them.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.