Cologne - battling on with a bad face wound remains one of the abiding images of Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup final victory over Argentina this summer.
'One injury after another'
Five weeks down the line, however, it is another injury that is plaguing the 30-year-old midfield general and giving rise to the question of whether he perhaps left too much behind on the pitches of Brazil that served as staging posts on the national team's march to their fourth world title.
An ongoing patellar tendon problem has definitely ruled Schweinsteiger out of the opening weeks of the new season and last Saturday his head coach at FC Bayern München Pep Guardiola admitted that, “Bastian's not doing anything at all right now.” For much of last season, furthermore, he “was carrying one injury on another, in Brazil as well.” At the start it was his much-put-upon ankle, then subsequently the patellar tendon.
The upshot was months of playing with painkilling injections and missing the DFB Cup final victory over Dortmund in mid-May, among other matches. But in the wake of the tournament in Brazil, the problems have evidently taken on a new dimension. A few light individual training sessions are all Schweinsteiger has managed since returning from his well-earned break and he was missing altogether from a voluntary running session for Bayern's World Cup-winning contingent last week.
'Legs were shot'
The 108-time Germany international managed just ten onfield minutes during the club's pre-season preparations and even that brief runout, against the MLS All-Stars in Portland, Oregon, ended with him hobbling off the pitch with a bruised ankle. at the Maracana, Schweinsteiger played out the full 120 minutes despite obviously struggling towards the end - and despite having himself noted beforehand that, “You really need to be a bit careful with the patellar tendon.”
Indeed: the short tendon connecting the kneecap and shinbone is the source of many a wearisome injury in professional football with, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo's low-impact World Cup very possibly down at least in part to the Portuguese superstar having struggled with a similar injury for months. Recovery calls for an extended rest period or, in the worst case, surgery. In Brazil there was certainly no rest for Schweinsteiger who wanted win the World Cup “come what may.” His legs, he admitted, were “shot” after the final but then again, “it was worth it.”