At just 23, Bastian Schweinsteiger can already be considered a mainstay of both the German national team and his club Bayern Munich.
A left midfielder, who can also play on the right, he has a hard shot, great dribbling skills and is a specialist at set pieces. He can also play as a defensive midfielder or just behind the strikers.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gave Schweinsteiger his debut as a late substitute in a UEFA Champions League game against RC Lens in November 2002, and the youngster made an immediate impact, creating a goal for Markus Feulner within minutes. He signed a professional contract the following month and went on to appear in 14 Bundesliga games in 2002–03, helping Bayern to a league and cup double. The next season he played 26 Bundesliga games.
A regular in Bayern’s first team by the age of 19, a then-uncapped Schweinsteiger was one of the late additions to Germany’s Euro 2004 squad and went on to feature in all three games Rudi Voller’s men played there. He earned rave reviews for his performances, showing combative skills and even setting up the opening goal for teammate Michael Ballack in Germany’s 2-1 loss against the Czech Republic.
The Bavarian-born youngster, who joined Bayern aged 14, has long been heralded as a future midfield general for club and country, but has played the vast majority of his senior football to date down the right flank.
Blessed with high levels of stamina, yet Schweinsteiger is much more than just a bundle of energy with his ability to make a yard of space and produce slide-rule passes making him stand out even at the highest level.
He scored his first two international goals on 8 June 2005 against Russia and scored his first goal at a major tournament against Tunisia on June 18, 2005 at the Confederations Cup in Germany.
This was followed up by two sublime strikes in the third place play-off game at the 2006 World Cup. He nearly scored a hat-trick as he caused Armando Petit’s own goal to make the score 3-1.