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📖 Part 1: Weimann's road to recovery

In a two-part extended feature, Andi Weimann lifts the lid on his return from injury and reflects on his outstanding season in red and white.

The cliché of life being a rollercoaster can often be overused but it’s hard to argue against it best describing the past 18 months for City’s talismanic Austrian Andi Weimann.

A season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, a 20-plus goal season, the birth of his third child and not to forget a return to the international set-up with Austria for the first time in seven years.

🧨 DYNAMITE

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But the man City fans describe as ‘dynamite’ has taken it all in his stride.

Weimann finished the 2021/22 season with a double double of goals and assists as he found the back of the net on 22 occasions in 46 appearances, as well as providing 10 assists for his team-mates.

As the 30-year-old reflected on his record-breaking season which saw him more than double his previous best goal tally of 10 a wry smile appeared across his face.

“It sounds great to be honest. At the start of the season I probably didn’t expect to have that many goals or assists so I’m really happy personally with how the season has gone,” said Weimann.

“Coming into this season I hadn’t played a competitive game for eight months so for me it was about getting back into the team and playing again - anything else was a bonus to be honest.

“When I got to seven or eight goals I thought ‘could I get to double figures?’ and then from December I just carried on scoring goals and then you get close to 20 and you ask yourself ‘can I reach the 20 mark?’ and obviously now I’m at 22.”

Weimann net's City's third and eventual winner in the Severnside Derby
Weimann bags an injury-time winner away to Blackburn Rovers

It’s a season that will live long in the memory for Weimann and it was made all the more sweet given the journey he has been on to reach this point.

🗓 INJURY

October 24th, 2020 is a day etched in the memory for him as City took on Swansea City at Ashton Gate. It would be the day that Weimann’s 2020/21 campaign would end after he sustained what he later learned to be an ACL injury. 

He said: “I played on for a minute or two but it didn’t feel right. I came off and then all weekend I was walking around feeling alright without any pain, but I came in on Monday morning to see the physios and they said, ‘I’m not going to lie; I think you have done your ACL'.

“I was a bit surprised because I didn’t have any pain and then we went to see the surgeon and even before the scan came back, he told me I had done my ACL so it was a bit of a shock to be honest.

🏃‍♂️RECOVERY

“After the operation, it probably sounds silly, but because I had not had a long-term injury before I kind of enjoyed it, the journey you go on. I tried to come back as strong and fit as I could, working as hard as possible every single day. Of course, I missed playing but I enjoyed the journey of not being able to walk and going back to full fitness.

“The little gains every single day made me happy. I worked with Gill (Holt), the physio and Del (Bonsu) in the gym as well as the sports therapists  Liam (Tovey) and Pete (Williams) – we’d meet every day so they helped me a lot and I think it was good for them too. They enjoyed it as well, seeing me progress and get even fitter than before.”

An extended period of time on the sideline for an elite athlete can often be incredibly frustrating but Weimann chose to focus on the positives as he spent time at home with his young family.

“My wife helped me a lot. She was great with the kids whilst I was resting and I was just trying to get back to walking," he recalled.

“Then (during rehabilitation) I had the weekends off, which is something I haven’t had in the last 10 years and some time off over Christmas so I tried to see the positives in it and make the most of my time.”

Andi pictured with his wife Jennifer and three children

During Weimann’s prolonged spell out there was a change at the helm for City in February 2021 with the appointment of Nigel Pearson on an interim basis until the end of the season.

It was familiar face for Weimann given the brief time he had spent working with Pearson at Pride Park when both were at Derby County, however the Austrian wouldn’t deny his annoyance at not being able to prove himself to City’s new boss or contribute whilst the Robins struggled on the pitch.

After a gruelling rehabilitation programme the City forward returned to training with the first team squad, the only caveat being it was just 10 days prior to the end of the season. However, as he often does, Weimann focused on the positives.

“It felt a little bit weird because I returned to full training 10 days before the end of the season. For me it was like my season had just started – I had only played six games before getting injured.

“It was a bit frustrating but from an injury perspective it was perfect because I was fully fit, had six weeks off like everyone else and then when I came back, I started as a fully fit player going into pre-season.”

Weimann returned to full training 10 days before the end of the 20/21 season
The Austrian penned a new three-year deal in June 2021

✍️ NEW DEAL

In those six weeks off the Austrian would pen a new three-year deal to keep him in the West Country until at least 2024.

On signing his new City deal he said: “Once I received the offer of a three-year contract and the chance to stay here for at least another three years then I wanted to do it straight away.”

In the blink of an eye July 2021 rolls around and pre-season is underway. Weimann is fit, firing and ready to go. His first match minutes came against Celtic in pre-season, which for any returning player is a major milestone.

“It was tough but I think it was tough for all the players,” he chuckled. “The manager sees them (pre-season fixtures) as a training exercise, so we had a tough session the day before and we weren’t fully recovered but it was good as it was the last thing I needed to tick off on my recovery.

“I had played 11 v 11 in training but I hadn’t played against a different opponent, so it was good to tick off that last box.”

The Austrian's journey through rehabilitation was complete but little did he know what was in store the following campaign.

👀 WHAT HAPPENED NEXT 

Part 2 of the extended feature will follow soon as Weimann focuses on the stand-out season of his career.


🎥 WATCH THE INTERVIEW IN FULL


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