Bastian Schweinsteiger was Wednesday ruled out of Germany′s friendly international against Israel, leaving a doubt on his fitness for the start of Euro 2012 next week.
The Bayern Munich midfielder was unable to train with the squad in Tourrettes in southern France because of a calf muscle injury suffered in the Champions League final against Chelsea.
Team manager Oliver Bierhoff confirmed Schweinsteiger would not play against Israel in Leipzig on Thursday, but said he was optimistic the deputy captain would be fit in time for Germany’s opening game at Euro 2012, against Portugal on June 9 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Schweinsteiger’s injury, a bruised calf muscle, is a setback for the player who is fighting to regain full fitness after torn ankle ligaments in February and a broken collar bone in November.
“I will not use a battered player,” said coach Löw from Germany’s training camp in Tourrettes, France, as Schweinsteiger recovers from a demanding season.
“He is doing some individual training at the moment and I am sure he is physically and psychologically strong enough to put the injuries of last season behind him.”
Schweinsteiger is coming off the back of a tough season for Bayern having suffered a broken collarbone and torn ankle ligaments and was one of Munich’s eight Germany stars who joined the national squad at the weekend.
Apart from Schweinsteiger, Löw is expected Thursday to start with most of the Bayern players who were rested for Saturday’s 5-3 defeat against Switzerland in Basel.
Bayern’s Toni Kroos is expected to fill Schweinsteiger’s defensive midfield role alongside Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
Löw told the German football federation website he believed the Bayern players had now recovered from the Champions League defeat on penalties to Chelsea on May 19.
“The players have renewed strength, new motivation,” he said. “The new goal (of Euro 2012) has put all negative thoughts out of their minds. They want to finish the season positively, they want this great success.”
The match against Israel is Germany’s last test before Euro 2012 being held in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 to July 1. The squad leaves for its Euro 2012 base near Gdansk, Poland, on Monday.
Captain Philipp Lahm, who will start at left-back rather than the right-back position he normally fills for Bayern, said: “One shouldn’t expect too much from these sort of tests but, of course, we want to win, play a good game and gain confidence for the tournament.”