Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger 'will not surrender' in Euro 2016 race
Bastian Schweinsteiger has said he is on track to be available for the European Championship despite being sidelined since late March.
Schweinsteiger, 31, partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee while with the national team in late March, and has been out of action since.
He is one of many players going into the Germany training camp in Ascona, Switzerland, injured or just returning from a longer stay on the sidelines.
But the Germany captain is confident he will be fit in time for Euro 2016 which starts in France on June 10, and believes he will be part of the tournament squad to be named by Joachim Low by May 31.
The national team coach began the preparations for the tournament with a 27-man preliminary squad, and he needs to drop four players by next Tuesday.
"I feel well," Schweinsteiger said at a news conference at the training camp in Switzerland. "The last MRI scan looked really well. I am confident. I now need to get closer to team training. I am on schedule."
Schweinsteiger struggled with a knee injury in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup, where he later became a key figure as Germany beat Argentina in the final and won their fourth World Cup.
"The good thing is that I am already experienced. I was always able to cope with the difficult situations so that we could have success as a team. That's where I draw my optimism from. I was in a worse state before the World Cup," Schweinsteiger said. "And it worked out pretty well there."
However, the Manchester United midfielder is aware that he can only take things "day to day."
"I need to return to team training. You have to bear in mind I haven't played since late March. But you make up a lot in the training session. And I'll see how it'll turn out to be," he said. "I'll try to resume training, and we will see if that's enough or not."
Although Schweinsteiger might not make it to the first XI in time for Germany's first game against Ukraine on June 12, he believes he can add experience to the team.
He said: "I try to pass on my experience to the young players. You don't only win a tournament because you are the better team or have the superior quality. You need to play with heart and passion. We should not forget the German virtues."
He added: "Surrender? This word does not exist. Even though it's sometime hard to fathom and accept."
Schweinsteiger is not the only player struggling for fitness as Germany begin their preparations for the tournament.
Sami Khedira is set to resume training on Thursday after sustaining a muscle injury earlier this month, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus suffered injuries in the DFB Pokal final, and are currently not training with the team. Julian Draxler, Benedikt Howedes and Jerome Boateng have all just come back from long-term injuries.
Hummels tore a muscle in his calf last Saturday, but according to Low will return in time for the tournament. Forward Marco Reus is currently sidelined with problems in the adductor region.
Low also addressed Schweinsteiger's situation, saying he will give him a few more days until a final decision will be made on his selection.
"I will give him the time he needs until Friday or Saturday. Then we will talk," Low said. "He's done everything he could physically, and I am optimistic about the next weeks. He needs rhythm. And you can only judge it once he has resumed training."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.