March 24, 2016 1:32:00 pm
Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has re-injured his right knee while on duty with Germany and faces a race against time to be fit for the European championships in June.
The 31-year-old midfielder suffered the injury training in Berlin on Tuesday and an MRI scan in Munich on Wednesday revealed he has again torn the medial ligament.
He misses Germany’s home friendly against England at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday, then against Italy four days later at Munich’s Allianz Arena and faces a race to be ready for Euro 2016 in France.
“I have to accept the siuation as it is,” Schweinsteiger told the German FA website. “I’ve spoken to the national team coach about my situation and in the coming weeks, we will remain in close contact.”
The news is another blow for Germany’s captain, who had been working his way back to fitness after tearing the same ligament in United’s FA Cup third round win over Sheffield Wednesday at the start of the year.
He had made four second half appearances off the bench in United’s last four games.
“That is very bitter news, Bastian was just back on the right track and I know how much he had looked forward to the time with the national team and the two matches,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.
“I have told Bastian I won’t be writing him off for the European championships. The tournament is not taking place tomorrow and there is still time. Bastian is a top professional and I know he will do everything in order to be fit for the tournament.”
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who has injured his left ankle, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi, who has a bruised foot, are also on the walking wounded list for Germany.
Germany’s squad has already been trimmed from 27 to 25 with Schweinsteiger injured and Wolfsburg’s Max Kruse having been thrown out of the squad on Monday for two off-field discretions.
“I thought he needed to be taught a lesson,” Loew said about Kruse, who lost 75,000 euros ($83,970) in a taxi and got into an argument with a reporter in separate incidents.
“It is only for the two games, so it doesn’t mean he has no chance for the European championships. Perhaps he’ll learn from this and we’ll keep an eye on what he gets up to away from football, just like the rest of the squad. But, I couldn’t accept things the way they were.”
In the wake of the Brussels terror attacks on Tuesday, security will be paramount for the internationals in Berlin and Munich.
Germany’s final friendlies of 2015 coincided with the November Paris terror attacks.
Their defeat to France at the Stade de France was overshadowed by the terrible scenes across the French capital on November 13, four days before Germany’s home friendly against the Netherlands was called off by police.
“The events (in Brussels) are certainly terrible and have hit a bit of a nerve with us,” said Loew.
“When you hear and read about what happened, the images from France (November’s Paris attacks) come to mind. But, we’re trying not to let these things get to us. We’re focused on the sporting matter at hand and trust in the security arrangements.”
Loew says, the Germans are relishing testing themselves against two top European teams.
“We deliberately chose two strong opponents. Matches against England and Italy are never normal games,” he said.
“We chose a large squad on purpose, so that each player has the chance to make his mark with his performance. Then we’ll have a bit of clarity, it’s the last time we’ll come together before the squad (for the Euro 2016 finals) is named.”
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