After a year on the sidelines, Jonathan Burkardt finally made his return against Hoffenheim on Sunday. "It was very emotional," he said after the match.
It was the 23-year-old striker's first appearance since November 2022, and it wasn't until the final whistle that he realized how much it meant to be back on the pitch.
"I have to say, during the game and when I came on, I blocked out a lot and was pretty focused. I was not really aware of the chants. But after the game you realize how good it is to be back after such a long time," Burkardt, who shed a tear or two, told Kicker.
In addition to the fans' chants, the hugs from his family and girlfriend were memorable.
"I think it was very emotional for them too. Of course, they have been by my side all year, so it was a very nice moment."
Burkardt has scored 18 goals and laid on nine assists in 94 appearances for Mainz. His contract expires next summer.