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Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Long a stalwart of Germany’s midfield, Bastian Schweinsteiger is known for his skill and versatility. He usually operates on the wings but is able to switch to a more central role when required.

He made his debut for the German national team in 2004 in a friendly against Hungary, earning a regular spot on the team after a widely-praised performance at Euro 2004.

He was once again called up for the 2006 World Cup at home in Germany and shot into prominence at the tournament with his two brilliant performances, especially his long-range strikes in the third place match against Portugal.

At the age of 22, he had already played 41 matches for the German national team, a record for any German player at the time. This record was soon broken, however, by Lukas Podolski who was capped 44 times at the age of 22.

At Euro 2008, Schweinsteiger lost his place in the starting lineup when coach Joachim Löw moved striker Lukas Podolski to his usual position on the left wing to accommodate the strike partnership of Miroslav Klose and Mario Gómez.

In the second match against Croatia, coming on as a substitue, he was shown a straight red card for reacting to a challenge from Jerko Leko as Germany suffered a shock defeat. After serving his suspension by missing the game against Austria, he returned to the starting lineup in the quarterfinal against Portugal, as Löw reverted to the old 4–4–2 formation.

Once again, he was instrumental in Germany’s 3–2 win, scoring one goal and setting up the other two. He also scored his country’s first goal in the 3–2 semifinal victory against Turkey.

During the 2010 World Cup, Schweinsteiger was handed the role of replacing the injured Michael Ballack at the centre of midfield. He performed admirably in this role, adding valuable leadership and international experience to a very young German side.

He was vital to both the German attack and defense, and was named the Man of the Match after the quarterfinal match against Argentina, where he provided two assists while also managing to contain Lionel Messi.

Germany subsequently lost to Spain in the semifinals but won 3–2 over Uruguay in the third place match, where Schweinsteiger served as captain, replacing an ill Philipp Lahm.

Schweinsteiger was in the starting lineup for all of Germany’s matches at Euro 2012 and assisted for both goals in the win over the Netherlands in the group stages.

Strengths: He is one of the most hardworking players on the field and possesses a fearsome shot from range as well as a wicked delivery from set-pieces.

Weaknesses: He is often perceived as arrogant and his aggressive nature has gotten him into trouble.

Trivia: Schweinsteiger’s name came from the word Schweinsteig, which is a place near the village where the farmers uses to drive their pigs into the woods above the village. A Steig is a way or path leading up the mountain (from steigen – to climb). The family who lived in that area got the name Schweinsteiger.

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