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Schweinsteiger takes next hurdle

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Bastian Schweinsteiger took another important step towards full recovery on Thursday morning. The vice-captain completed a full squad training session in Doha for the first time since the operation on his ankle back in early November.

“It's great to be back with the rest of the lads and being able to do all the drills,” declared a happy Schweinsteiger in an interview with following today's one-hour training session. The Bayern vice-captain has gradually been reintroduced to full training over the past few days while at the same time continuing to work on his comeback with Thomas Wilhelmi and Andreas Kornmayer on a neighbouring pitch.

Schweinsteiger is inching ever nearer to his long-awaited return – but the midfielder is keen to warn against exaggerated expectations. “Of course, it's more fun training with a ball and your team-mates rather than without a ball on your own,” said Schweinsteiger, “but I'm not where I want to be at the moment. I need to feel much better.” The Germany international with over 100 caps wants “to do as much as possible” over the next few days but also wants to see “how I am and what's good for me. It won't all be back to normal overnight.”

The FCB coach is also happy that Schweinsteiger is recovering step-by-step. “It's very important for me that my number two captain is here,” said Guardiola recently, “I hope his fitness gets a bit better every day.” And Schweinsteiger is also really looking forward to working with the head coach again soon: “The coach has a fantastic feel for his players and incredible ideas. He tries to introduce his ideas in a way to suit us. We've still got room for improvement.”

Despite 2014 being a World Cup year, the main focus remains FCB. “When a World Cup is round the corner you've always got something to aim for. But Bayern is my main priority at the moment,” explained the 29-year-old. “Winning the Champions League twice in succession – that's another key target. We know it's not going to be a walk in the park. But it will be possible if we all pull together.” That's a definite chance with a fit Bastian Schweinsteiger in the squad.