Created on 04-09-2008 at 00:00 AM
Had anyone bothered to record the match stats for Tuesday evening’s Olli Kahn testimonial, Bastian Schweinsteiger would surely have topped the charts for shots at goal with half-a-dozen long-range efforts. “He was utterly determined to put one past me: at the near post, with one that bounced – he tried everything, but I was equal to it,” Kahn observed with a huge grin.
Kahn and Schweinsteiger boast contrasting personalities, but have more in common than the mere fact they were team-mates. Kahn has closely followed the progress made by the man 15 years his junior, often critically. For his part, Schweinsteiger has frequently acted on the older man’s advice.
The legendary keeper addressed the subject again on Tuesday. “He’s ambitious, and I reckon he’s taken a huge step forward recently,” the 38-year-old declared, “he dictates the pace, and he’s maturing into a genuine playmaker.“
Jürgen Klinsmann inclines to agree with Kahn’s assessment. “I regard his development as very positive. Bastian is growing as a dominant force,” said the Bayern coach, who got to know the Bavarian native in his time as Germany boss. “His roller-coaster Euro has taken him another step towards maturity.“ Schweinsteiger began the summer tournament on the bench and contrived to be sent off against Croatia, but was one of Germany’s best players from the quarter-finals onwards.