Schweinsteiger – 6 time champion

A long time coming, Bayern Munich clinched their 23rd league championship with a gem of a goal. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s brilliant backheel handed Munich a 1-0 (0-0) away win at Eintracht Frankfurt and a new German record. “It’s been a perfect day,” said an overjoyed Schweinsteiger who celebrated with Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer after the final whistle in Frankfurt. Whilst it was Neuer’s first ever championship, Schweinsteiger, Bayern’s 28-year old vice-captain, has now won the title for a sixth time.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger backheels the ball into the net to hand Bayern Munich a 1-0 win in Frankfurt and their 23rd championship. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


His highly impressive performances have made him one of the driving forces behind the Munich team that, after two Borussia Dortmund championship wins, played a perfect season to secure themselves the title in lightning fast time. The sixth of April will go down in German football history as a day to remember: never in the 50 years of the Bundesliga has a team become champions so early. The old record was also naturally held by Bayern. In 1972/73 and 2002/03 they wrapped up the championship after their 30th match. This time around they were able to celebrate after their 28th game of the 34-match season. However the celebrations were low key as they were due to play Juventus Turin in the quarterfinals of the Champions League four days later. But Bayern also had a whole lot more to offer in the way of records: by not dropping a single point in their eleven games since the end of the winter break, Bayern has set a new mark for successive wins. As of the first weekend in April they had already chalked up the most wins in a season, conceded the fewest goals, won 13 away matches and will no doubt break the points record (81) set by Dortmund in 2011/2012.

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Munich’s Javier Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Neuer (from l to r) celebrating after the win in Frankfurt that clinched the championship title. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


And Bayern along with their terrific midfield general Schweinsteiger are dreaming of the triple. After their 2-0 home win in the first leg against the Italian champions from Turin, the final in Wembley (25 May) is only three games away. And on 16 April, the new champions will face VfL Wolfsburg for a place in the German DFB cup final (1 June). Schweinsteiger, who has had an excellent season, can win a cup winners medal for the sixth time in Berlin. The Champions League crown is still however missing from his collection. In 2010 and 2012 he was a losing finalist. One year after missing a penalty against Chelsea in the final on home soil in Munich, the Bavarian-born player is hoping to walk off with the biggest prize in club football.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger is seen here challenging Fabio Quagliarella in Bayern’s 2-0 Champions League win against Juventus Turin. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

The boss at Bayern and in the national team

The midfielder can crown his career next year at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He is also the lynchpin in the German national team. "For me it’s something very special to play for the national team,” stressed Schweinsteiger ahead of his 98th appearance for Germany in the 3-0 win against Kazakhstan in Astana on 22 March. For all his successes at club level, Schweinsteiger attaches great importance to the national eleven. “I’m proud to be a part of things.” For him, playing in Germany’s top two teams is the perfect complement.

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The first of Germany’s goals in their 3-0 win against Kazakhstan in Astana was supplied by Bastian Schweinsteiger. He also succeeded in getting past Maxat Baizhanov. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


That people questioned his role in the national team because he missed all nine friendlies and was only available for the competitive matches is something that slightly annoys Schweinsteiger. His style of play was criticised. Günter Netzer felt his game lacked telling passes up front, Olaf Thon said he lacked pace. Some media asked whether the six-years younger Ilkay Gündogan from Borussia Dortmund was not already the better No.6 alongside Sami Khedira. In Astana however, Schweinsteiger proved his worth. He scored the first goal but then was given a yellow card which left him suspended for the home game (4-1) Whilst Gündogan was highly impressive, Germany’s coach Joachim Löw has made it clear that Schweinsteiger remains his No. 1.

Löw: "He’s capable of driving a team forward”

It is long forgotten that he was hampered by niggling injury and wasn’t at the height of his powers at the 2012 UEFA European Championship. Especially in the last weeks, Schweinsteiger has been playing at the consistently high levels like he was at the 2010 World Cup when he was on the verge of being named the player of the tournament. “I expect a lot of Bastian. With him in the team it means our leader is also back,” said Löw. The boss is therefore back in the national team and he leads the side like he does at Bayern. "Bastian has found his form again. He again has the state of mind whereby he can drive a team, to be its leader,” stated Löw. "He is critical, gives his opinion and has a good influence on others. He’s won a lot of battles. It’s something that is very difficult to replace.”

Schweinsteiger won his first cap in 2004 and then was a part of the German team at the 2004 European Championship in Portugal that marked the low-point of the German team. An upturn in the team’s fortunes then followed and has now only stagnated because the Spanish finished ahead of the German on three occasions. Schweinsteiger sees Spain as being the be all and end all of football – and as the benchmark for all the world’s teams, including Germany. "That we’ve been compared to them since 2008 is an honour in itself. They are perfect in everything they do,” he said. Nevertheless he is aiming to knock them off their pedestal. “In the teams I play for, I can only strive for the best.” It’s something he’s doing at Bayern but there is still room for manoeuvre in the national team. He’s had enough of finishing second or third.