There are players and then there are some who can’t be termed not only as a player but also warrior or gladiator-like characters for their club and country. Bastian Schweinsteiger certainly comes into such bracket after his exuberant career for both FC Bayern and Germany. Born on this day in 1984 in Kolbermoor, a small town of then West Germany, Schweinsteiger popularly known as ‘Basti’ or ‘Schweni’ among his fans, played a huge part in establishing the foundation of 21st century Bayern Munich and also the first World Cup triumph for Germany in 2014. We’ll take a look back at the career of one of the best central midfielders of this generation.
Bastian started taking football lessons as early as at the age of 6 at FV Oberaudorf in 1990. Then he shifted to TSV 1860 Rosenheim’s academy in 1992 and after spending 6 years in Rosenheim’s academy, he finally joined FC Bayern‘s youth team in 1998.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was promoted to Bayern’s reserve team named Bayern Munich II in 2001 and played few games for both the first team and the reserves. He was promoted to Bayern’s first team in 2005 and never looked back since then. Gradually securing his name in the teamsheet on a regular basis. Schweinsteiger started to perform consistently and became a fan favorite as Bavarians started to call him as Fußballgott (football god). Bastian is famous for his deciding goals in crunch games when his team needs him most. Let’s take a look at some of his match deciding goals for the Bavarians.
During the 2005-06 season, he scored against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals but despite all his efforts his side went on to lose the game. On 25 April 2012, Schweinsteiger scored from the last and match-clinching penalty kick against Real Madrid to send Bayern through to the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final. On 6 April 2013, Schweinsteiger scored a backheel flick goal against Eintracht Frankfurt which sealed the Bundesliga title for Bayern, and in that season FC Bayern achieved a remarkable feat as they completed the continental treble by winning Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, and DFB Pokal trophy. He scored an equalizer goal in the match against Manchester United in the first leg of their 2013–14 UEFA Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford but saw a red card later in that match after a rash challenge on Wayne Rooney. After helping his team to win the treble, Schweinsteiger deservedly won the German Player of The year and was described as the best midfielder in the world by then Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes and Heynckes even recommended him to win the Ballon d’Or after his display throughout the season.
But Schweinsteiger’s remarkable career at Bayern may have been maligned with his penalty miss against Chelsea in 2011-12 Champions League final shootout which denied the club to win UEFA Champions League at their home ground Allianz Arena, a feat which no other club has achieved in the continent.
After donning the famous red jersey for 500 times, and scoring 68 times in his 13 years of journey with the Bavarians, he finally decided to leave the club and moved to English giants Manchester United in 2015 where he would be reunited with his former boss Luis van Gaal. However, Bastian’s journey with the Reds hasn’t been on a smooth run after picking up several injuries. He appeared only 18 times for the Reds in the Premier League in the 2015-2016 season and scored an equalizing goal against Leicester City. But in 2016 after the arrival of Jose Mourinho, Schweinsteiger hardly made it to the first team in the 2016-17 season. He made only 4 appearances that season and but scored once in The FA Cup. Mourinho’s treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger raised eyebrows of other United players and his former colleagues of Bayern as well.
After a bumpy ride at the Theatre of Dreams, On 21 March 2017, Bastian Schweinsteiger got clearance from MUFC and joined Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire. As usual wherever he goes match deciding goals and overall impact on the team follows. There weren’t any exceptions at Chicago either. On 1 April, Schweinsteiger debuted for Chicago Fire, scoring in a 2–2 home draw against Montreal Impact. By mid-season, he guided Chicago to the top of the MLS standings and was voted into the “MLS All-Star Fan XI” (along with teammate Nemanja Nikolić) to face Real Madrid at the 2017 MLS All-Star Game in Chicago. After guiding the Fire back into the playoffs after a five-year drought, Schweinsteiger was awarded the contract option of another year in 2018. Schweinsteiger netted a goal and also provided an assist to Alan Gordon’s equalizing goal in the stoppage time in a 2–2 draw against Toronto FC on 29 April 2018. On 5 August, he scored a long-ranger to level the scoreline after coming on as a substitute in the second half in a 2–1 away defeat against Real Salt Lake. On the 11th of July, Bastian Schweinsteiger scored a goal in the stoppage time and provided one assist to Aleksandar Katai’s goal in a 4–3 home defeat against Philadelphia Union.
On 8 October 2019, Bastian Schweinsteiger announced that he finally decided to hang up his boots from professional football. A few days after his retirement from active sports in October 2019, the ARD announced that Schweinsteiger will be accompanying live broadcasts of football matches as an expert in Qatar for the next three years up to and including the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Bastian Schweinsteiger debuted for Germany under 16 sides back in 2000 and after 4 years, in 2004 he played his first game for Die Mannschaft in a friendly against Hungary and went on to earn 121 caps for his country after his retirement from international football in 2016. He was part of the German National Football Team in every major tournament starting from EURO 2004 to EURO 2016. He started his FIFA World Cup journey with a bang when he scored two brilliant goals against Portugal in 2006 and was named the Man of The Match.
During the 2010 World Cup, he was once again instrumental for his side and put another man of the match display against Argentina by providing two assists. He served as a German captain in their 3rd place match against Uruguay due to Philipp Lahm’s illness. Schweinsteiger was shortlisted for the final 10 players to win the prestigious Golden Ball. Schweinsteiger played his last and final World Cup in 2014 in Brazil and played a pivotal role in Germany’s 4th World Cup victory.
Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from competitive international football, having played in 121 games for Die Mannschaft, scoring 24 goals. His final appearance for Germany was against Finland in a friendly.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is Roman Catholic. He was in a relationship with model Sarah Brandner from 2007 until July 2014. They lived in Munich together. After his separation with her, in September 2014, he began a relationship with Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic and married her on 12 July 2016 in Venice, Italy.
The couple is blessed with two sons Luka, born on 17 March 2018 in Chicago, and an unnamed baby born on 30 August 2019. Schweinsteiger was a talented Ski-runner and is childhood friends with German national ski team member and World Champion Felix Neureuther.
We wish Bastian Schweinsteiger a very happy birthday and best of luck for his future.
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