The Croatia international reported back for pre-season training with the Bundesliga club on Wednesday, three and a half weeks after featuring in the World Cup final in Russia. "I'm happy to be back here. The World Cup was a wonderful experience for me, but now I'm excited for the new challenges that await with TSG," said the striker on his return. Before playing in the World Cup final against France with the Croatian national team on 15 July, he had written on social media, saying: "Let's create history". And while the impressive Croats were beaten 4-2 by Les Bleus in an exciting final, meaning the Balkan nation missed out on the greatest sporting triumph of them all, Andrej did create history in the eyes of TSG. He was the first-ever player plying his trade at the club to feature in a World Cup final.
Kaiserslautern tie too soon
The forward will need to show some patience now that he is back at TSG. He has brought a painful souvenir back from the World Cup with him − a minor medial collateral ligament strain − that will prevent him returning to team training straightaway. The management, who remained in contact with Kramaric during the tournament, wants to reintroduce him gradually to the team, whose intense pre-season preparations began back on 2 July. "We don't want to take any risks. Especially due to the late return of the player during pre-season. Our objective is to reintegrate him into training and the team in a responsible and cautious manner," declared Alexander Rosen, Director of Professional Football at TSG.
After being welcomed in Zuzenhausen, the Croat was initially only put through some internal medical tests and marketing appointments such as an autograph card photoshoot. Coach Julian Nagelsmann has already announced that the forward will not be factored into his squad planning for the DFB Cup tie in Kaiserslautern on 18 August.
Involved in all seven World Cup matches
The striker featured in all seven of Croatia's matches at the World Cup. Upon his return to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, he and his team-mates were given a rousing reception. Their second-place finish at the World Cup is the greatest achievement in Croatian football history.