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Schweinsteiger fully fit

Midfielder 'feeling good' about national team

Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Germany national team is a long-term relationship which has suffered a few ups and downs this year. There have been eight official international matches in 2013, but the Bayern midfielder featured only in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Kazakhstan. More than six months have passed since then, as Schweinsteiger has been pegged back by a series of more or less serious injuries.

However, for the final qualifiers at home to Ireland and away to Sweden, the seasoned vice-captain is back. “I’ve come here with a really good feeling. I’m so looking forward to it,” Schweinsteiger declared on Tuesday at a German FA (DFB) press conference in Düsseldorf, “my body is a great deal better again.”

German fans, the coaching staff and officials are delighted about that, because Schweinsteiger is essentially irreplaceable both for Bayern and the national team. He has been struggling to regain full fitness ever since surgery to fix an ankle problem in early June, and had only just overcome the tiresome problem and lengthy healing process when he picked up a less serious but still irritating sprain in Bayern’s Bundesliga trip to Freiburg.

Acid test in Schalke

Basti failed to feature in the UEFA Super Cup final and the league meeting with Hannover. He made an initial comeback in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow, before blossoming and flourishing in the Bundesliga visit to Schalke. “It was the first time I felt I had a fully functioning ankle again,” the player revealed.

Schweinsteiger now joins up with his national team after stunning personal performances in Manchester and Leverkusen, “and I have plenty of confidence,” he confirmed. Should he feature in the last two qualifiers, he will pass the milestone of 100 caps in Stockholm. “It’s obviously very special indeed,” said the Bavarian-born midfielder, “it’s a number which definitely fills you with pride.”

Bastian Schweinsteiger’s long-term relationship with the Germany national team is set to recover all its former strength and passion, as the player seeks to crown his stellar footballing career with the World Cup trophy in 2014.