The return of domestic football after the final international break of 2023 will hopefully provide a fresh start for Japhet Tanganga. The defender certainly needs one after a nightmare beginning to his Augsburg loan deal.

After playing an extremely bit-part role at Tottenham over the past couple of seasons with injury issues hitting him hard, the former England Under-21 international was given the green light to exit N17 in the summer. Amid plenty of speculation over a permanent transfer in hope of getting his career firmly back on track, Tanganga, in the end, departed on loan as he linked up with Bundesliga side Augsburg on a deal until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

The agreement between the clubs includes an option for the German outfit to buy him, which becomes an obligation if certain conditions are met. Since making his move to the Augsburg Arena, the 24-year-old has yet to make a competitive appearance for his new club.

At a time when Tanganga needed things to go his way after only 39 appearances in total across the last three seasons for Spurs, luck has unfortunately deserted him once again. Arriving at the club with a knee injury and unable to play a part in the opening few months of the Bundesliga season, Augsburg fans are still waiting to see their summer addition make his debut for the club.

Things did appear to be on the up for the player at the start of November as he was named in the matchday squad for the very first time for their away clash at Koln. An unused substitute on the day as they left with a point in the bag following a 1-1 draw, the versatile defender wasn't part of the squad in their last game before the international break as they drew at home to Hoffenheim.

Despite domestic football going on pause for this year's final round of international fixtures, the break in play has seen Tanganga get some much-needed minutes in the tank. Keen to maintain their levels and match sharpness, Augsburg, who only lost six of their squad to international action, took on SSV Jahn Regensburg in a friendly behind closed doors last Thursday.

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It proved to be a successful exercise for Augsburg as they ran out 5-2 winners, with Tanganga handed a start by new head coach Jess Thorup. The Spurs academy graduate only played the first half of the contest but the game time will have done him the world of good after so long out on the sidelines.

With the return of league football edging ever close, Tanganga will be hoping that his minutes against the third-tier side put him in a good position to be included in the matchday party for Saturday's game at Union Berlin. As there are no more international fixtures on the calendar between now and the end of the year, Tanganga and his team have a run of five uninterrupted games before the Bundesliga season pauses for their winter break that last just over three weeks.

The player will be determined to play his part in those upcoming fixtures and put himself in a strong position for 2024 after such a frustrating start to his Augsburg loan. At a time when he could be starting in Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham XI had he remained in north London given the current injury and suspension issues at the back, Tanganga will be doing all he can to make his Bundesliga debut and show everyone at Augsburg why he was brought to the club in the first place.

With only five competitive appearances to his name in 2023 and only a further five opportunities on the table before Augsburg bring the curtain down on the year, Tanganga can at least try and finish 2023 on a positive note providing that minutes do indeed come his way under Thorup. Appearing at the start of September to be the move that could kickstart his career, Tanganga's loan spell has just not got going yet but his pitch time last week could potentially be a sign that his Augsburg career is about to get up and running.

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