BASTIAN Schweinsteiger has warned Germany the injury to Neymar could galvanise Brazil ahead of their World Cup semi-final showdown on Tuesday.
The host nation's talisman was ruled out of the rest of the tournament after suffering a broken vertebra in a challenge from Colombia's Juan Zuniga during the quarter-finals.
The injury soured the 2-1 win which took Luiz Felipe Scolari's side into the last four, but Schweinsteiger believes the nous of the manager will help make up for Neymar's absence.
Loading article content
"We are all very sad that Neymar can't play," the Bayern Munich midfielder told a press conference. "It is always best if all the big players are on the pitch for the big games.
"But the loss of Neymar can create strength and weld together the Brazilian team.
"The have two experienced coaches (Scolari and assistant manager Flavio Murtosa), who have already both been world champions. I believe that the team which will win the title will have a very clever coach. In addition there is the individual class of each player."
Germany's assistant coach Hansi Flick added: "Neymar's absence is a loss for Brazil. But they have 200 million fans behind them."
Flick said all 22 available players were "fit and healthy", with defender Shkodran Mustafi, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury, the only one missing.
Joachim Low's men have not been entirely convincing in their passage to a fourth straight World Cup semi-final, especially in their last-16 success over Algeria.
But Schweinsteiger, who said the mood in the camp was "very good" and "very focused" on the match, believes the current team are better than the side which went down to Spain in the last four in 2010.
"The team is another step forward," said the 29-year-old.
"Every individual player has developed further at his club. The number of good players has also increased."
Schweinsteiger could come up against his Bayern club-mate Dante on Tuesday, with the defender in line to replace the suspended Thiago Silva, and would relish the challenge.
"I would be happy for him if he plays," Schweinsteiger said. "We know him very well and know his strengths and weaknesses. Of course, he also knows how we play - except for Thomas Muller. We will never know that very well ourselves!"