Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger (pronounced [ˈbasti̯an ˈʃvaɪ̯nʃtaɪ̯ɡɐ] (listen); born 1 August 1984) is a German former professional footballer who usually played as a central midfielder. Earlier in his career, he primarily played as a wide midfielder. Schweinsteiger is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, due to his tactical awareness, positioning, passing, tackling ability and also due to his ability to read and control the flow of the game.[3] German coach Joachim Löw has referred to Schweinsteiger as one of the greatest players Germany has ever produced.[4]

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Schweinsteiger with Chicago Fire in 2017
Personal information
Full name Bastian Schweinsteiger[1]
Date of birth (1984-08-01) 1 August 1984[1]
Place of birth Kolbermoor, West Germany
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1990–1992 FV Oberaudorf
1992–1998 TSV 1860 Rosenheim
1998–2002 Bayern Munich
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2005 Bayern Munich II 34 (2)
2002–2015 Bayern Munich 342 (45)
2015–2017 Manchester United 18 (1)
2017–2019 Chicago Fire 85 (8)
Total 479 (56)
National team
2000 Germany U16 1 (0)
2001–2002 Germany U18 11 (2)
2002–2003 Germany U19 7 (2)
2004 Germany U21 7 (2)
2004–2016 Germany 121 (24)
Representing  Germany
Men's football
FIFA World Cup
UEFA European Championship
FIFA Confederations Cup
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He spent 17 seasons at Bayern Munich, playing in exactly 500 matches across all competitions and scoring 68 goals. His honours at the club include eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal titles, a UEFA Champions League title, a FIFA Club World Cup title and a UEFA Super Cup title.[5] He joined Manchester United in 2015, playing sparingly for 18 months before moving to Chicago Fire. He announced his retirement from playing in October 2019.

Schweinsteiger played for the German national team from 2004 to 2016. He is Germany's fourth most-capped player of all time, having earned 121 caps and scored 24 goals. He was selected in their squads for four European Championships and three World Cups, including their victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Also, in 2014 FIFA World Cup, he was widely regarded as one of the most important contributors in Germany's victorious campaign, playing an especially important role in defending Lionel Messi in the Final.[6] Following Philipp Lahm's international retirement on 2 September 2014, Schweinsteiger was named captain of the national team. He played his last match for Germany against Finland on 31 August 2016, after which he retired from international football.

Club career

Bayern Munich

Schweinsteiger playing for Bayern Munich in 2007

Schweinsteiger signed with FC Bayern Munich as a youth team player on 1 July 1998[2] and rose through the club's youth sides. A talented youth ski racer, he had to decide between pursuing a professional career in skiing or one in football.[7] Having won the German youth championship in July 2002, Schweinsteiger quickly earned a place in the reserves,[8] producing a string of solid third-division displays. He initially earned a reputation for being a rebel off the pitch, making headlines for the wrong reasons but has since settled down.[9]

During his first appearances in the titular eleven, he played left-back. After just two training sessions with the first team, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gave Schweinsteiger his debut, at the age of 18,[7] 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. He scored his first Bayern goal against VfL Wolfsburg in September 2003.

Surprisingly sent back to Bayern's reserve team by new coach Felix Magath at the beginning of the 2005–06 season despite his international exploits of the summer in the Confederations Cup, Schweinsteiger swiftly returned to play a role in the double-winning campaign and scored in Bayern's Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat at Chelsea.

Over the next three seasons, up until the end of 2007–08, Schweinsteiger made 135 appearances in all competitions for Bayern Munich (Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal), scoring 10 goals in the process.

On 15 August 2008, Schweinsteiger scored the first Bundesliga goal of the 2008–09 season. In December 2010, he extended his contract with Bayern until 2016.[10]

Schweinsteiger during training in January 2013

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, where they would face Chelsea. The match, played at Bayern's Allianz Arena, ended 1–1 and went to a penalty shoot-out. With the shoot-out poised at 3–3, Petr Čech tipped Schweinsteiger's shot onto the post, allowing Didier Drogba to seal the title for Chelsea with the next kick.

In the 2012–13 season, Schweinsteiger performed considerably well, continuing his duties as central midfielder along with new signing Javi Martínez. On 6 April 2013, Schweinsteiger scored a backheel flick goal against Eintracht Frankfurt which sealed the Bundesliga title for Bayern.[11] The season ended on a high for Schweinsteiger, as Bayern secured a treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Schweinsteiger received the 2013 German player of the year due to his performance for Bayern Munich.[12][13] He was described by then manager Jupp Heynckes as the best midfielder in the world and Heynckes wanted either Schweinsteiger, Ribéry or Thomas Müller to win the Ballon d'Or.[14]

He scored an equaliser 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.[15][16]

Schweinsteiger in 2014

He made his 2014–15 season debut[17] in a 4–0 win against 1899 Hoffenheim.[18] He came in for Mario Götze in the 78th minute.[19] On 16 May 2015, with Bayern having already won the league, he scored the opening goal in a 2–1 defeat at SC Freiburg.[20] On 23 May 2015, Schweinsteiger scored on his 500th appearance for Bayern.[21] This proved to be his last match with the club. He transferred to Manchester United on 13 July 2015,[22] having been at Bayern for 17 years.[23]

Schweinsteiger was a fan favourite at Bayern and was usually called Fußballgott (football god) by Bayern's fans.[24]

Manchester United

Schweinsteiger playing for Manchester United in 2015

On 13 July 2015, Manchester United completed the signing of Schweinsteiger on a three-year contract for a fee of €9 million (£6.5 million).[25] Manchester United had never before fielded a German in the first team; Markus Neumayr and Ron-Robert Zieler were at the club before him, but neither made it into the first team.[26] Schweinsteiger was given shirt number 23 in pre-season, but switched to 31, which he wore at Bayern, before the official start to the season.[27]

Schweinsteiger made his pre-season debut for Manchester United in a friendly match against Club América on 17 July 2015.[28] United defeated the Mexican club 1–0 in Seattle.[29] His Premier League debut came on 8 August, as a 60th-minute substitute for Michael Carrick as the season began with a 1–0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur, being booked eight minutes into his first appearance for a foul on Nacer Chadli.[30] On 28 November he scored his first goal for the club, equalising with a header in a 1–1 draw against Leicester City.[31]

On 7 December 2015, Schweinsteiger was punished with a three-match retrospective ban by The Football Association for striking West Ham United's Winston Reid in the throat in their meeting two days earlier.[32]

After the arrival of new manager, José Mourinho, Schweinsteiger was demoted and sent to training with the under-23 team.[33] A number of high-profile former teammates have criticised Mourinho's handling of the matter, accusing Mourinho of showing a lack of respect for Schweinsteiger.[34] He returned to first team training towards the end of 2016, and made his first appearance since March when he came on as a late substitute in the EFL Cup quarter-final against West Ham United on 30 November 2016.[35] He made his first start in over a year in a 4–0 win in the FA Cup fourth round home tie against Wigan Athletic on 29 January 2017, in which he scored his first Old Trafford goal for Manchester United with an overhead finish.[36] For his goal, as well as his assist to Marouane Fellaini for the opening goal, he was voted "Man of the Match" by the fans.[37]

Chicago Fire

Schweinsteiger prepares to take a corner kick for Chicago in 2017.

On 21 March 2017, Manchester United allowed Schweinsteiger to join Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire, subject to a medical and a visa being secured.[38][39][40] The move was completed on 29 March.[41] A few days later, Mourinho stated that he "regretted" the way he had treated Schweinsteiger.[42] On 1 April, Schweinsteiger debuted for Chicago Fire, scoring in a 2–2 home draw against Montreal Impact.[43] By mid-season, he would help guide Chicago to the top of the MLS standings and be 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.[44] After guiding the Fire back into the playoffs after a five-year drought, Schweinsteiger was awarded the contract option of another year in 2018.[45] Schweinsteiger netted a goal and also provided an assist to Alan Gordon's equalising goal in the stoppage time in a 2–2 draw against Toronto FC on 29 April 2018.[46] On 5 August, he scored a long-range goal to level the scoreline after coming on as a substitute in the second half, but his side were defeated in a 2–1 away loss against Real Salt Lake.[47][48] On 11 July, 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.[49]


On 8 October 2019, Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from professional football.[50] 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.[51]

International career

Schweinsteiger made his international debut in June 2004 in a friendly against Hungary and earned 121 caps before his retirement from international football in 2016.[52] He was part of the Germany squad for every major tournament from UEFA Euro 2004 until Euro 2016.[7]

Euro 2004

Right after taking part in the under-21s' disappointing run at the 2004 European Championships,[53] he was called up for Euro 2004.[54] He set up the opening goal for Bayern teammate Michael Ballack in Germany's 2–1 loss against the Czech Republic.[55]

2006 FIFA World Cup

Schweinsteiger taking a shot for Germany in 2009

He scored his first two international goals on 8 June 2005 against Russia[7] and scored his first goal in a competitive match against Tunisia on 18 June 2005 at the Confederations Cup in Germany.[56] He was called up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup on home soil and shot into prominence at the tournament with his two brilliant long-range strikes in the third-place match against Portugal, which won him the Man of the Match award.[57] The match ended 3–1 with the 21-year-old nearly claiming a hat-trick but his deflected free kick was credited as an own-goal to Armando Petit.

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 the same age, Lothar Matthäus (the German all-time record holder with 150 caps) had only played 13 times for the German national team.

Euro 2008

During Euro 2008 qualifiers, he scored two goals en route to a record 13–0 win over San Marino in San Marino. He scored the third goal in Germany's 4–1 win over Slovakia in Bratislava.

Schweinsteiger lost his place in the starting 11 when Germany manager Joachim Löw moved striker Lukas Podolski to Schweinsteiger's usual position on the left wing to accommodate the strike partnership of Miroslav Klose and Mario Gómez, and he made two substitute appearances in the group stage. In the second match against Croatia, he was shown a straight red card for reacting to a challenge from Jerko Leko as Germany succumbed to a shock 2–1 defeat. After serving his suspension by missing the game against Austria, he returned to the starting line-up in the quarterfinal against Portugal, as Löw reverted to the old 4–4–2 formation when Gómez was benched after failing to make an impression. 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. He captained the team for the first time in a friendly against the United Arab Emirates.

2010 FIFA World Cup

Schweinsteiger featured often in 2010 World Cup qualifying, playing nine of the 10 games and contributing three goals. He started in Germany's third pre-warm-up game vs. Bosnia on 3 June 2010, and scored two penalties in a 3–1 victory in the space of four minutes, but in the 87th minute he was substituted off for Bayern Munich teammate Toni Kroos.

Schweinsteiger in action for Germany at Euro 2012

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Schweinsteiger was charged with 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 defence, as was apparent when he was named the Man of the Match after the quarter-final match against Argentina, where he provided two assists while also managing to contain Lionel Messi. Germany subsequently lost to Spain in the semi-finals. Germany was able to rally for a 3–2 victory over Uruguay in the third-place match, and, with Philipp Lahm resting on the bench because of illness, Schweinsteiger served as captain.

Overall, Schweinsteiger recorded three assists in seven matches in South Africa, which tied him for the most assists in the finals with Dirk Kuyt, Kaká, Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil.[58] In recognition of his excellent play throughout the tournament, he was chosen as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Golden Ball, awarded to the most outstanding player of the tournament.[59]

Euro 2012

Schweinsteiger established himself as first choice as defensive midfielder in Germany's qualifying group. He played five matches – once against each opponent: Belgium, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Austria and Turkey – and helped Germany win 10 out of 10 games, scoring once and providing one assist.

Schweinsteiger started all five of Germany's matches at the UEFA Euro 2012 finals and assisted both of Mario Gómez goals in the 2–1 Group B win over rivals the Netherlands.

2014 FIFA World Cup

Schweinsteiger celebrates with the World Cup trophy after winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final.

Schweinsteiger made five appearances as Germany qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On 15 October 2013, he won his 100th cap for the national team in a 5–3 win over Sweden.[60]

After making a substitute appearance in the team's second match against Ghana, Schweinsteiger was selected to start in the third group game against the United States.[61] He retained his place in the team for Germany's round of 16 match, a 2–1 win against Algeria. He was instrumental in the World Cup finals against Argentina and led the mid-field with sweeping passes for the German attack. Germany won the World Cup final 1–0 through Mario Götze's 113th-minute goal.[62]

Euro 2016 and retirement

Prior to the start of qualification, Schweinsteiger was appointed as the new captain for Germany after Philipp Lahm's retirement.[63] On 23 March 2016 he sustained damage on his knee while he was training with the German national team which made him miss the rest of the Premier League season but he recovered just in time to be selected for Germany's 27-man provisional squad for UEFA Euro 2016. On 31 May, Schweinsteiger was selected for Germany's final 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016.

On 12 June 2016, Schweinsteiger scored in stoppage time after coming on late in a 2–0 group stage victory over Ukraine.[64] Nine days later, Schweinsteiger set a new record for German player with the most appearances in a European Championship match.[65] After the tournament, Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from competitive international football, having played in 120 games, scoring 24 goals.[66] One month later, he participated in his last ever international appearance for Germany, against Finland in a friendly match.[67] He was succeeded as captain by Manuel Neuer.[68]

Style of play

Schweinsteiger largely operates in the centre, but he is versatile enough to provide an option on the wing, either on the left or right flank. During his years with Bayern, he was regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. Schweinsteiger possesses a fearsome shot from range, as well as excellent crossing and a wicked delivery from set-pieces, while his boundless energy also serves him well.[69][70] Described as a "two-way player" by Nick Amies, he has also been used in a variety of other roles, including as a holding midfielder, as an attacking midfielder, in a box-to-box role, as a playmaker, in a deep-lying midfield role, or even as a right-back.[71][72][73][74][75] A powerful, physical, and elegant player, who also possesses good technique, skill, passing ability, vision, and creativity, Schweinsteiger is known for his ability to control and dictate the flow of his team's play in midfield, build attacks, and create chances for his teammates with his distribution.[71][72][73][74][76][77][78] Dubbed the "Midfield Motor",[79] Schweinsteiger is also a superb reader of the game and has scored spectacularly due to his good positioning. He has been called "the brain" of the German national team by coach Joachim Löw,[80] and has also been described as a "midfield mastermind".[81]

Beyond his offensive and creative capabilities, he is also known for his defensive skills, work-rate, and tackling ability.[82] For his performances, he was voted as the best German player of the year in 2013.[81] Jonathan Wilson, when writing for The Guardian during the same year, labelled Schweinsteiger as a type holding midfielder that he described as a "carrier" or "surger," namely "a player capable of making late runs or carrying the ball at his feet."[83] During his time with Chicago, Schweinsteiger has also occasionally been deployed as a central defender or sweeper in a three-man back-line, in addition to his usual role in midfield, courtesy of his vision and defensive skills; in this deeper role, he was not only given defensive responsibilities, such as marking opposing players, but was also given offensive duties, and was tasked with playing the ball out from the back, retaining possession, advancing into midfield, and controlling the play.[84][85][86] Because of Schweinsteiger's wide range of skills, his former Chicago Fire manager, Veljko Paunović, described him upon his retirement in 2019 as "unique and special," also commenting: "He's a complete player, a total player. In Germany, where they know him even better than us, they call him a 'Fussballgott' [a "football god," in German] because he represents everything."[87]

Personal life

Schweinsteiger is a Roman Catholic.[88] He is known to fans as "Schweini" or "Basti", the latter to distinguish him from his elder brother, Tobias, a professional footballer who also played for Bayern Munich, albeit in the reserve team.[89] Schweinsteiger was in a relationship with model Sarah Brandner from 2007 until July 2014.[90] They lived in Munich together.[91]

In September 2014, he began a relationship with Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic.[90][92] The couple wed on 12 July 2016 in Venice, Italy.[93] The couple have two sons: Luka, born on 17 March 2018 in Chicago,[94][95] and an unnamed baby born on 30 August 2019.[96]

Schweinsteiger was a talented ski-runner and is childhood friends with Felix Neureuther.[97]

Career statistics


ClubSeasonLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalOther1TotalRef.
Bayern Munich II2001–02Regionalliga Süd4040[98]
Bayern Munich2002–03Bundesliga140120010162[100]
Total 3424547961103132050068
Manchester United2015–16Premier League1812010100311[98]
Total 1814120110352
Chicago Fire 2017 MLS 2431010263 [112]
2018 31440354[113]
2019 3010010311[114]
Total 8585020928
Career total 47956581081114134066380

* 1.^ Statistics includes DFL-Supercup, FA Community Shield, MLS Cup Playoffs and Leagues Cup.


National teamYearAppsGoals
Germany 2004100

Germany score listed first, score column indicates score after each Schweinsteiger goal

International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 8 June 2005Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany14 Russia1–12–2Friendly
2 2–1
3 18 June 2005Rhein-Energie Stadion, Cologne, Germany16 Tunisia2–03–02005 FIFA Confederations Cup
4 29 June 2005Zentralstadion, Leipzig, Germany18 Mexico2–14–32005 FIFA Confederations Cup
5 22 March 2006Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany25 United States1–04–1Friendly
6 30 May 2006BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany27 Japan2–22–2Friendly
7 2 June 2006Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany28 Colombia2–03–0Friendly
8 8 July 2006Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart, Germany35 Portugal1–03–12006 FIFA World Cup
9 3–0
10 6 September 2006Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino38 San Marino2–013–0UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
11 7–0
12 7 October 2006Ostseestadion, Rostock, Germany39 Georgia1–02–0Friendly
13 11 October 2006Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia40 Slovakia3–04–1UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
14 19 June 2008St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland54 Portugal1–03–2UEFA Euro 2008
15 25 June 2008St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland55 Turkey1–13–2UEFA Euro 2008
16 20 August 2008Frankenstadion, Nuremberg, Germany57 Belgium1–02–0Friendly
17 6 September 2008Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz, Liechtenstein58 Liechtenstein4–06–02010 FIFA World Cup qualification
18 28 March 2009Zentralstadion, Leipzig, Germany64 Liechtenstein3–04–02010 FIFA World Cup qualification
19 12 August 2009Tofik Bakhramov Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan68 Azerbaijan1–02–02010 FIFA World Cup qualification
20 3 June 2010Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany74 Bosnia and Herzegovina2–13–1Friendly
21 3–1
22 10 August 2011Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany88 Brazil1–03–2Friendly
23 7 October 2011Türk Telekom Arena, Istanbul, Turkey90 Turkey3–13–1UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying
24 12 June 2016Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France116 Ukraine2–02–0UEFA Euro 2016



Bayern Munich Juniors[117][118]

  • Under 17 Bundesliga: 2001
  • Under 19 Bundesliga: 2002

Bayern Munich II

  • Regionalliga Süd: 2003–04

Bayern Munich[119]

  • Bundesliga: 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15
  • DFB-Pokal: 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13, 2013–14
  • DFB-Ligapokal: 2007
  • DFL-Supercup: 2010
  • UEFA Champions League: 2012–13

Manchester United[120][119][121]





  • Bavarian Order of Merit: 2018[134]

See also

  • List of footballers with 100 or more caps


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