A collarbone fracture, torn ankle ligaments and a calf injury kept Bastian Schweinsteiger out of around a third of FC Bayern München's games last season and some even doubted his participation at UEFA EURO 2012. While it seemed that he was back to his best with his two assists in the group stage defeat of the Netherlands, however, the influential Germany midfielder has now revealed that he is having problems.
"To be honest, my ankle worries me," the 27-year-old declared in an interview with Welt newspaper which was published this morning. "It has not healed in an ideal way," he said of a problem dating back to February.
With his performances against Denmark and now Greece below par, criticism towards him has been voiced, questions regarding his stamina raised and this explains why he has now chosen to reveal his problems. "I am fit," he said. "It is not a question of stamina. It is about small movements in a game, about that explosiveness.
"Before the Greece match I could only take part in the final training session. You lack something.
I played some bad passes against Greece, which usually doesn't happen to me. It must not happen to a player like me. The time has not yet come for me to rest. Hopefully we will have two more games and I will struggle through. Then I have to see that I will finally get fully fit again."
A lack of sharpness, he goes on to explain, has led to him "becoming more of an organiser of the game, while Sami Khedira is making more attacking runs". Statistics show that Schweinsteiger played an incredible 109 passes in the quarter-final on Friday, with a completion rate of 92%, surely not something to be ashamed of, although it is the few passes that did go astray that concerned him.
So it was a warning as well as an accolade when captain Philipp Lahm today said: "We need a fully fit Bastian Schweinsteiger. We are in the semi-final of a European Championship. He is experienced and knows his body well. It would be important if he could play."
Much has been made of the depth in Germany's squad and many in the stands in Gdansk on Friday, when Greece were beaten 4-2, had wondered why Joachim Löw did not replace Schweinsteiger with Toni Kroos in the second half. The answer is simple – Löw still hopes that his No7 will find his stride. Schweinsteiger, however, has already said he "wouldn't have a problem with it" if Löw decided to replace him for Thursday's semi-final.
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