Germany are disappointed Brazil talisman Neymar is ruled out of Tuesday's FIFA World Cup™ semi-final but midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger believes his injury could yet galvanise the Selecao.
Schweinsteiger, Germany captain Philip Lahm and midfielder Sami Khedira all made comments supporting Neymar, who was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a fractured vertebrae in Brazil's quarter-final win against Colombia.
"We're all sad that Neymar can't play, it's always better when the opponent has all their best players on the pitch," said Bayern Munich's Schweisteiger at a press conference. "It'll bring the (Brazil) team together and they'll want to win the title for him."
"Neymar is a sensational player who has shown his class at the World Cup," Lahm told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "At a World Cup you always want to measure yourself against the best that is why I would prefer Brazil played with Neymar," he added.
The Brazilians will put out a super team even without Neymar.
"It is bad news for us and for fans of football," Khedira told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. But the Germans are still wary of Brazil's power: "The Brazilians will put out a super team even without Neymar," said Khedira, with Lahm adding: "Brazil have enough players to help in his place."
Brazil are also without suspended captain Thiago Silva, but Schweinsteiger says, regardless of who plays, the Selecao is still a class outfit.
"They have two coaches in (Felipe) Scolari and (Carlos Alberto) Parreira who have won the title already, they have the home advantage and players with individual class," said Schweinsteiger, who will win his 107th cap if selected for the semi-final.
"Their coaches have a lot of experience of this kind of situation. It's an honour and a challenge to play against the hosts, but it have would be better to play Brazil in the final. It doesn't matter how much experience you have, to play the hosts in this football-crazy country, I mean that in a positive sense, is something special."
Assistant coach Hansi Flick said Barcelona's Neymar had justified the huge expectations on him coming into the tournament.
"He's a loss for Brazil, he's an excellent player who fulfilled the expectations on him, he's had a great tournament," said Flick. With the exception of hamstring-injury victim Shkodran Mustafi, Flick said the entire Germany squad is fit and free of the mild-flu virus which blighted them last week.