There is a myriad of reasons why this season has been an arduous one for Melbourne Victory defender Tim Hoogland.
From injuring his quad 24 hours before the first round at the end of training, to missing out on Asian Champions League selection – the road to recovery has been a difficult for one for the German, who also sustained a knee injury midway through the season.
Hoogland was brought in under Marco Kurz with high expectations to lead the Victory defence – having played in the Bundesliga – yet has only managed the six games this season, with the side suffering a similar fate, sitting in ninth place after 19 games.
“It was a tough and difficult time but I always tried to get back as soon as possible,” he said.
“It was quite a weird feeling seeing the boys travel round Asia, but my target was to get fit. We did a lot of things, it was strange seeing them play away because I want to play every game but that’s the past let’s see what the Champions League will bring.
“It was difficult not because I was injured but because of the expectations of everyone at the club had of me so that was tough as well. We have five foreigners and I was injured all the time. I believed everything would be different if I were fit but that’s how life works, that’s the dark side of the injuries.”
Hoogland has started in Victory’s last two matches and will line-up at the heart of defence on Saturday night against league leaders Sydney FC at Marvel Stadium.
The Sky Blues got the better of the Victory when the two sides met in January at AAMI Park, winning the annual Australia Day meet three-nil.
The Victory will be looking to build on last week’s emphatic win against Adelaide United, while the Sky Blues will be determined to rectify a difficult week after a loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers and draw to Jeonbuk in the Asian Champions League.
Despite sitting six points outside the top six, the finals are something a “long way” down the line according to Hoogland.
“From now on you will never hear anything from me about finals,” he said.
“I think it’s a long way to go, I think everyone in the club is best to start looking to the next game and it’s a quite difficult game against Sydney. There are a few reasons why they’re on top of the league and that’s our main target we have this game.
“I think we have to be really aggressive and be 100 per cent in every duel want to win every duel and maybe with a bit of luck from a set piece or something we can get the game on our terms. Everyone just has to believe in themselves.”
Featured Image: Melbourne Victory