Football

German quartet ready for Portugal

Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Khedira all set for the big clash

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer insists an injury-hit build-up has not affected Germany's preparations for their World Cup Group G opener against Portugal in Salvador tonight (Singapore time).

Germany have endured a heavily disrupted run-up to Brazil 2014, with midfielders Lars Bender and Marco Reus ruled out by injury.

Key players Philipp Lahm (ankle), Bastian Schweinsteiger (tendinitis of the knee) and Neuer (right shoulder) also picked up injuries at the end of the domestic season.

And Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira returned only last month after spending six months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

After intensive treatment, the quartet are all available to face Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal in tonight's mouth-watering clash and Neuer said that they are ready.

"Those are things that are part of football, nobody wants to be injured, but it has affected our leading players," he said. "We weren't always available, but we were constantly attached to the national side.

"We all came together in the final few training sessions and the most important thing is that the German team that play will be 100 per cent fit."

Schweinsteiger will also be available for the clash against Portugal despite taking a 60km helicopter flight to the hospital, the German FA has said.

The 29-year-old was flown from the team's base, near Porto Seguro, to a clinic in Eunapolis on Saturday, with the helicopter option preferred to a trip across the Bahia region's uneven roads.

KNOCK

A local Brazilian website - Radar64 - claimed Schweinsteiger was flown to hospital after taking a knock to his left foot in training on Friday.

But the German Football Assocation (DFB) insist the hospital visit was for a routine MRI scan, requested by Fifa, because of his recent knee injury.

Schweinsteiger took a full part in yesterday's final training session at Arena Forte Nova.

"Fifa demanded another medical check for insurance reasons, his knee is fine" said Germany coach Joachim Loew. - AFP.

World Cup