Patrick Reichelt returned to competitive football last July 8 in his Philippines Football League debut after being out of action for more than ten months due to a knee injury. The national team player came on as a late substitute and scored the games’ final goal in the match versus Ilocos United.
Ceres were missing some players through suspension with some also rested after a long seven game stretch. Reichelt was able to make the list because of this but never really expected an appearance in the match. “I was happy already just being in the locker room, to be with the boys, and then Pepe (Losada) came to ask if I can play ten minutes and I said ‘sure’, said Reichelt. “This was the perfect game, 7-0, the home crowd, then everything I imagined and even a goal. It’s perfect. (A) perfect comeback,” he added.
It was a long and winding road for the longtime Azkal who tore his ACL last August of 2016 in Singapore. Ceres was in the thick of a fightback in the second leg of the Singapore Cup Semifinals with the versatile attacker scoring a goal to force extra time against Tampines Rovers. The Berlin-born Filipino however succumbed to the knee injury in extra time with the team only having nine men with no substitutions left. The Singaporean squad scored twice after, consequently ending the teams’ deep run in the tournament.
After an initial consultation after the injury, Reichelt was advised to do rehabilitation instead of surgery which the midfielder did for months in a Rehab center in Germany. Though the rehabilitation went well, he was still forced to go under the knife early this year which further delayed his return. The former Thai league player started doing non-contact drills last May which eventually progressed to first team training just a few weeks ago. A spot on the bench was supposed to be the highlight for his return.
Everything literally fell into place for the Ceres midfielder as an Arnie Pasinabo delivery in injury time allowed Reichelt to head in his first goal in the PFL. “I saw the space by the defense and then I saw him (Pasinabo) attempting to cross. I just ran and put my head (in) and lucky it was a goal,” said Reichelt.
Emotions were high in the celebration with the goalscorer still in awe of what has transpired. “First game back you don’t expect but then it was 6-0 I think and then its just the perfect feeling, like after ten-and-a-half months now its very emotional, and I’m just super happy to be back.” said Reichelt who had had nothing but pure joy in his triumphant return.