Confident Germany heads to EURO 2012

Germany is arriving in Gdansk for EURO 2012 with key midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger having a clean bill of health and coach Joachim Low in a confident mood.

Germany is based in Poland's Baltic port of Gdansk for the duration of EURO 2012, which starts on Friday, with the final in Kiev on 1 July. All its Group B games take place in Ukraine.

Germany has had minor setbacks in its final preparations after a weakened team suffered a shock 5-3 defeat to Switzerland last weekend, while midfield star Schweinsteiger is recovering from a calf strain.

The 27-year-old is in a core group of players central to Low's hopes of bringing home a fourth European crown, having last lifted the title in 1996 after also winning the 1972 and 1980 tournaments.

Schweinsteiger strained his left calf a fortnight ago when Bayern Munich lost the UEFA Champions League final 4-3 on penalties to Chelsea as his missed spot-kick in the shoot-out helped the Blues seal victory.

Germany is amongst the pre-tournament favourites and opens its campaign in Lviv, Ukraine, against Portugal with Schweinsteiger having been given the green light to play.

"Bastian has no problems, no more pain," Germany team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt told Munich-based newspaper TZ after Schweinsteiger spent the weekend relaxing in Italy with his model girlfriend Sarah Brandner.

"Of course, he has a bit of catching up to do but I assume he will be fully fit to face Portugal."

"There is no reason not to look forward to these championships," said 52-year-old Low, who will be looking to land his first trophy as Germany coach after taking it to the EURO 2008 final and the 2010 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.

"We're ready, we've trained well and we are happy that it's about to start.

"On Friday, we will decide who will play against Portugal with plenty of enthusiasm."

With the quartet of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze, Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, Lazio striker Miroslav Klose and Schweinsteiger all returning from recent injuries, Low still has a few decisions to make.

Should Schweinsteiger fail to be fit in time, Munich team-mate Toni Kroos is most likely to partner Real Madrid's Sami Khedira in the defensive midfield role.

As he did in last week's 2-0 friendly win against Israel, captain Philipp Lahm is set to start on the left with his Bayern team-mate Jerome Boateng on the right.

Low needs to choose between Dortmund's Mats Hummels, Bayern's Holger Badstuber and Mertesacker for the two places available at centre-back.

For the single striker berth, Bayern's Mario Gomez is vying with Lazio veteran Klose, who turns 34 on Saturday, and is just five goals short of Gerd Muller's all-time record for Germany of 68 in 62 appearances.

Low has promised his players an intense week of training with Netherlands and Denmark still to come in Group B after Portugal.

"We need to be very focused this week, there is still much work ahead of us," said Low.