Having suffered a partial ligament tear in his right knee in March, Bastian Schweinsteiger worked tremendously hard in order to get himself fit for Euro 2016. The Germans haven’t won the European Championships for 20 years, but there is a strong chance that Schweinsteiger will be lifting the Henri Delaunay Cup come July 10.
With Schweinsteiger not yet ready to play a full 90 or 120 minutes, it seems as though manager Joachim Low will primarily use his captain as a substitute to calm things down towards the end of matches.
The 31-year-old’s cameo against Ukraine on Sunday night was his first competitive appearance since March, but the Manchester United man is capable of playing a key part in his country’s bid to win Euro 2016.
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Schweinsteiger, who is a national hero after his heroics in Brazil two years ago, brings a wealth of experience to this Germany squad, which could be priceless over the coming weeks. The midfield maestro has represented his country 116 times, which is more than Mats Hummels and Toni Kroos combined.
With Tony Rudiger, who was ruled out of the tournament through injury last week, replaced by 20-year-old Jonathan Tah, Germany have the youngest squad at this year’s Championships. For this reason, Schweinsteiger’s knowhow and intelligence will be key for the Germans, who aren’t as complete a team as they were when they won the 2014 World Cup.
Schweinsteiger’s cameo v Ukraine
He was only on the pitch for two minutes, but it was enough time for the wily veteran to show his quality with some pressure-relieving passes as Ukraine desperately tried to get back into the game.
In the 92nd minute, much to the exasperation of Jogi Low, Schweinsteiger made a surging 60-yard run forward. However, it ended with him volleying home a fine breakaway goal which killed off the Ukrainians once and for all and secured the three points for the world champions.
What role will he play?
It’s clear that Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has taken over from Schweinsteiger as the brain and chief dictator of German football. That said, the Germany skipper can still be an extremely important player for the team by coming on in the second half of games to help Low’s side keep the ball and stay compact, especially towards the latter stages of the competition.
Manchester United fans will hope that Schweinsteiger can impress in France but they will also want him to remain injury-free ahead of next season. He is a genuine leader and organiser on the pitch, and there is no question that the classy German will be a huge asset to Jose Mourinho if he can stay fully fit and perform at his best.
Can Schweinsteiger recapture his very best form? Leave YOUR opinion in the comments box below!