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Leader and team player

Schweinsteiger: The team is what counts

When the players reported for pre-season back in July, Bastian Schweinsteiger was forced to watch proceedings from the touchline. Four weeks earlier, he had undergone surgical repairs to a knee and shin problem. The midfielder was fit enough to resume the squad programme by mid-July, and he rapidly accelerated back up to speed. He started the first competitive match of the new term two weeks later against Neckarelz. Another week later, Louis van Gaal named him second vice-captain, and two further weeks after that, the Munich boss described him as an “undisputed leader”, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed on Friday.

Quoted in the Bild tabloid, the Bayern chairman reported on a conversation with the coach. “Louis van Gaal is unbelievably convinced by him. He says: ‘For me, Schweinsteiger is the finished product, an undisputed leader’.” On being informed of this, Schweinsteiger expressed surprise. “What can I say?” he reacted, “obviously, it’s nice. But what use is it to me? I have to deliver on the field of play.”