bastian_internal

Russian Alan Dzagoev, right, fights for the ball with German Bastian Schweinsteiger in Moscow on Oct. 10, 2009, during their Russia vs. Germany World Cup 2010 qualifying match. ((Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images) )

Bastian Schweinsteiger  

Born: Aug. 1, 1984, in Kolbermoor, West Germany  

Position: Midfielder  

Nickname: Schweini  

Clubs played for: Schweinsteiger has known no other professional club but Bayern Munich, and he has made 303 appearances for Die Bayern (The Bavarians) since debuting in the first team in 2002. Since the German media became aware of the time and effort Bayern were putting into developing Schweini, the media have analyzed him thoroughly — worshipping him excessively when he succeeds and sparing no invective when he flounders. Since 2003, the 25-year-old has been an integral part of five Bundesliga championships and four German Cups titles.  

International career: Schweinsteiger burst onto the international scene at EURO 2004 and has made 73 appearances since. Because Schweinsteiger can play both in a central and outlying role, as an attacker or an aide to the defence, his name is always one of the first on Germany's team sheet.  

Why is he so special? Much was expected of Schweinsteiger at a young age, and when he wouldn't measure up many called him continually inconsistent. But it is hard to judge Schweinsteiger's performances game-after-game because he always plays a different role. Schweini is such a capable dribbler and passer of the ball that his coaches for club and country are continuously changing his role from defender to attacker and back again.  Even so, the German international adapts well — he is too important and too talented to be forgotten.  

His most famous moment: Schweinsteiger has scored some important goals for Die Mannschaft (The Team) including two goals against Portugal in the third place game in the 2006 World Cup and the opening goal against Turkey in the EURO 2008 semifinal.  

He said it: "My role model is Zinedine Zidane. He played sensationally and effectively.... But it would be difficult to copy a Zidane, especially since I am primarily concerned with the team and it's not about me. I'm on a path — and it is not yet over."  

What they're saying about him: "This season (2009-2010) he has made the big leap from a funky young man … to a very responsible player who works strategically with us (Bayern Munich)." - Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich president

Here's an interesting fact: Schweinsteiger is very close with former Bayern teammate and FC Koln striker Lukas Podolski, and the two always find their way to the biggest parties in Germany; and wherever they are the media are sure to follow.