LYON • Both the German press and Germany's Euro 2016 squad poured praise on "bloodied fighter and comeback king" Bastian Schweinsteiger yesterday, following his scoring heroics off the bench against Ukraine.
Despite having previously played just 245 minutes of football this year due to a torn knee ligament in March, Germany's squad captain dismissed any doubts about his fitness with an electric goal.
The 31-year-old scored his first international goal for nearly five years to ensure a 2-0 win.
"This goal delights the whole of Germany!", wrote German daily Bild. "Everyone enjoys his success and is pleased for him, especially Jogi's boys!"
Schweinsteiger scored in the 92nd minute with only his third touch of the ball, having been on the pitch for just two minutes.
His cameo made German football history, as his 14th appearance at European Championships Finals overtook Philipp Lahm's previous record.
The Manchester United star later admitted that he was out of breath from his long sprint towards the German bench to celebrate the goal with his team-mates.
"It's unbelievable, that something like that happened, you can only dream about it," he said. "I only had around 300 playing minutes under my belt this year, and then that happens. I still haven't got the strength for 90 or 120 minutes. I'm okay for a half, but I feel really good."
German fans are particularly delighted to have their skipper back after Schweinsteiger was left bloodied by a battling display in the 2014 World Cup final to help win the title in Brazil.
"It's super. Crazy. What a story! I'm delighted for him," said team-mate Thomas Muller.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, 30, said he hopes Schweinsteiger can make a full return to the white shirt soon.
"I hope that he can play from the start as soon as possible and show what a class player he is," said Germany's stand-in captain.
"Everyone knows his qualities, he brings order to our game."
It remains to be seen whether the United player will start Germany's next crunch game against neighbours Poland at the Stade de France on Thursday.
But Germany's midfield general is back.