Chicago Fire's Bastian Schweinsteiger 'not 100 percent' ahead of playoffs
Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has admitted he's still not fully fit after suffering a calf injury in the club's 1-0 victory in Montreal on Sept. 2.
The former Germany international came on in the 71st minute of the Fire's 1-1 home draw with New York City FC. It was his first action in four matches since the injury.
With the international break this week, the Fire, who have already qualified for the playoffs, will have extra time to get their still-recovering star healthy for postseason play, which begins at the end of the month.
"I can't say exactly where I am, but not 100 percent, because for that I need more training sessions and that's why it's good to have two weeks," Schweinsteiger said.
"Where I can really go for it and train very intense, and to get ready for the last two matches and also the playoffs."
Of his substitute appearance on Saturday, Schweinsteiger, who received 121 career caps for Germany, called it a strange experience for him.
"Weird, because I was not used to it," he said. "I actually only trained once with the team. But I felt OK, and now we have two weeks until the next game so it's perfect to get back into rhythm. It was a great reception from the stands. Thank you to all the people who came tonight."
Chicago will end the regular season against Philadelphia on Oct. 15, and Houston on Oct. 22, and Schweinsteiger said he is eager to get his first taste of playoff soccer.
"We are very excited to play playoffs, I think last time was ," Schweinsteiger said. "I never had, actually, in my life, playoffs. If you call it in the Champions League playoffs, then I played it quite a lot, but it's the first time here, so I'm looking forward to it."
Just six points separate NYCFC in second place from from fifth-placed Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference standings. The Fire, who currently sit fourth, have much to play for in the regular season run-in.
"It will be a tough game. We don't know yet which position we will be, so it's not easy to speak about it," Schweinsteiger said.
"We have two more games, we will try to win these two games and then we will be in good shape for the playoff game then."
However, the Fire will have to endure the playoff test without forward Michael de Leeuw, as the club confirmed he tore the ACL in his left knee on Saturday against NYCFC.
De Leeuw three goals and eight assists in 30 matches this season.
"It's very sad, I mean you could see, I think, that the injury is quite bad," Schweinsteiger said of De Leeuw's injury. "I wish him all the best, he was in a good shape, he was always working very, very hard for the team and we need this kind of attitude in our game.
"It's sad for us and you only can wish him all the best and a quick recovery."
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