Schweinsteiger, Neuer fit for Portugal

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Germany boss Joachim Low has all 23 members of his World Cup squad fit and available as he prepares for Monday's opening match against Portugal.

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After a build-up to the tournament that was dominated by injury worries over Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm, Germany reported no new problems.

On Saturday, Schweinsteiger -- who sparked concerns that he could miss the World Cup after suffering a knee injury at the pre-tournament training camp last month -- was airlifted to hospital to undergo a scan needed for insurance purposes.

The remote location of Germany's Brazil camp means it cannot be reached by road, so Schweinsteiger had to undergo his journey to hospital by air.

"There's not a new injury," German FA (DFB) press officer Jens Grittner told SID. "The examination is part of a measure in the FIFA protective scheme."

And as Germany prepare to become the first nation ever to play 100 World Cup matches, Low stressed: "He is over his knee problems."

But German pundits expect him to start the game against Portugal on the bench, with the versatile Lahm set to operate in a midfield role.

Lahm, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos appear to be favoured for central midfield, leaving coach Low with several options for his attacking formation.

German football weekly kicker predicts that Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will start, while Sport Bild believes Andre Schurrle, Muller and Podolski will form the attacking three.

At the other end, it is highly likely that Bayern Munich keeper Neuer will return to the Germany goal a month after suffering a shoulder injury in the DFB-Pokal final.

"I feel fine -- I am fit and can do everything again. I have trained fully and coped with all workloads," Neuer told a news conference.

""We'll start with a final right away, and we have to play three finals during the group stage.

"But we are a Turniermannschaft [tournament team], and we want to show that. I like those games, the big tournaments, the big moments."

Low was upbeat about Germany's chances, saying: "We are a team with a lot of quality. Should we be able to realise our potential over the complete tournament, it will be very difficult to beat us."

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