Bastian Schweinsteiger does not believe he can yet offer Germany a 90-minute show at Euro 2016 but against Ukraine on Sunday the playmaker proved he only needs a short cameo to make a big difference.
With the Ukrainians causing jitters in the closing stages after Shkodran Mustafi had put Germany ahead in the first half, coach Joachim Loew gave his injury-plagued, 31-year-old captain an injury-time runout.
Schweinsteiger then sprinted the length of the pitch to get on the end of a Mesut Ozil cross and deliver the coup de grace with the second goal for the world champions.
“It’s just incredible,” Schweinsteiger panted after the Group C match, out of breath following his brief but explosive return to competitive football after coming back from a long-term injury in his country’s last warm-up game before the finals.
“After all the injuries … something like this happens. I can’t play 90 or 120 minutes yet but I’m feeling like I can play.
“I feel really good. I think if I stay healthy I’ll be able to play. I hope I can play some more.”
Loew said the Manchester United midfielder had not quite performed according to the coach’s script.
“It wasn’t really the plan that Bastian was going to surface so far forward,” he explained. “We sent him on to try to calm things down.”