Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen has sustained another knee injury despite the current hiatus in the 2019/20 football season. The US national team shot-stopper suffered the injury during training with Fortuna Dusseldorf on Monday as the German Bundesliga inches closer to restarting its season.
The 25-year-old joined Man City last summer from Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew SC and was sent on a season-long loan to the German Bundesliga side. The club revealed via Twitter on Monday that Steffen suffered an “inner ligament injury to the knee.”
It was not stated whether it’s related to a previous knee problem he had earlier this season. The goalkeeper spent more than two months on the sidelines as a result of a serious knee ligament damage sustained in December. He had not featured for Dusseldorf this year before the season was disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, before the layoff, he had established himself as a key player for the German side. He started all 17 matches in the first half of the league season and was largely praised for his performance. His absence was strongly felt by the team as it struggled to stay in the top flight.
Dusseldorf are currently in the middle of a relegation battle, sitting third from bottom with nine matches left to play in the Bundesliga season. If the campaign ended today, the Flingeraner would play in the two-leg promotion/relegation playoff against the third-place finisher from the 2. Bundesliga. Things could get even worse when the remainder of the season resumes if the team continues to leak goals.
Steffen’s injury could also be a concern for City as the 25-year-old is expected to return to the club next term. With Claudio Bravo set to leave the club at the end of the season, Steffen is tipped to take his place as Ederson’s No.2. The other option is Aro Muric, 21, who deputized for Bravo when the Chilean was injured in the 2018/19 campaign.
But the Kosovo international has had a difficult loan spell in the Championship at Nottingham Forest with little first-team football under his belt. That more or less defeats the purpose of the loan and hardly prepares him for a place in Guardiola’s team. It leaves Steffen as the best candidate to keep Ederson on his toes.
The Brazilian is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the world. But could also suffer from fatigue, injuries, a dip in form or even suspensions thereby requiring a decent backup.
For now, it is unclear how long Steffen will be sidelined. But hopefully, he’ll be back in time to help Dusseldorf stay afloat and then return to the Etihad Stadium next term ready for when he’s needed.