Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move into the centre of midfield a number of years ago preceded the midfielder’s finest form for the Bavarians. No longer the player who struggled on the flanks and who failed to make an impression under then-manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, Schweinsteiger is now considered one of Bayern’s most valuable assets, assisting in both the defensive side of their game as well as the transition into attack.
Highly skilled in maintaining possession for his side and armed with a venomous left-foot, Schweinsteiger’s presence in central midfield for both Bayern and Germany has done a lot for the introduction of youth into both side’s starting XI.
With all the talent in the Bayern ranks: Captain Philipp Lahm, Germany No.1 Manuel Neuer and the wide threats of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben and the lethal striking form of Mario Gomez; it may come as a surprise that the real heartbeat of the team is Bastian Schweinsteiger. A team who at times fail to find the same desire that is brought about through their ‘true’ talisman, his absence is a huge dent to the side’s ambitions both domestically and in Europe.
Most telling for Bayern was their Champions League home tie against Napoli in which Schweinsteiger, who was, as always, at the centre of all that was good for the home side. However, his substitution due to injury left Bayern’s midfield looking horribly exposed. Their accurate and assured passing was nowhere to be seen and Napoli quickly caught on to the frailty of a midfield combo consisting of Anatoliy Tymoschuk and Luiz Gustavo.
Unfortunately for Bayern manager Jupp Hynckes, Schweinsteiger’s injury will see him out until the new year. The make-shift central midfield partnerships have thus far been unsuccessful during the German international’s absence. Promising youngster Toni Kroos has attempted to slot into a deeper role to no avail and new addition Luiz Gustavo doesn’t look the same player whilst alongside Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoschuk.
Stability and an assured head in the middle of the park is essential to any club’s success, and Schwesteiger is the player that brings that level of leadership and quality to this Bayern Munich side. He knows a bit about team work, too…
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