Created on 25-02-2014 at 12:00 PM
Bastian Schweinsteiger waited 110 long days for this moment. The Bayern vice-captain had been sidelined since the 1-0 Champions League away win at Viktoria Plzen, but the 29-year-old celebrated his long-awaited comeback in the FCB starting eleven at Hannover 96 on Sunday.
“It did me good to play from the start and not have any problems,” said a relieved Schweinsteiger after 72 minutes on the pitch where he pulled the strings from a holding midfield role - to the evident pleasure of his team-mates. “He has very good presence on the pitch,” declared Tom Starke, “he showed that in Hannover with a couple of great moves.” For example on 35 minutes when the Germany centurion set up Thiago to make it 2-0 with a brilliant pass.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was also happy to see Schweinsteiger return -despite the midfielder overtaking the chairman in the all-time FCB rankings, as Basti is now tenth on the list after making his 311th Bundesliga appearance at the weekend. “Bastian is Bayern through and through,” Rummenigge said in an exclusive interview with fcbayern.de due to be published on Thursday. “I’m glad he’s available again at this crucial phase of the campaign.”
Bastian produced an impressive display in his 200th Bundesliga victory with an assist and 67 percent successful challenges to his credit. The Hannover game was a first step for Schweinsteiger as he endeavours to recapture his old form. “I’ve got to find my rhythm and I need time on the pitch to get fully fit again. I hope everything will go my way from this point.”
UCL title is ‘pure motivation’
That hope is shared by the rest of the squad, as Starke was keen to say. “He’s incredibly important both on and off the pitch,” declared the keeper, “we’re really happy he’s fit again.” Schweinsteiger is keen not to get ahead of himself, given he has had two ankle operations, which he says “doesn’t make it easy to get back on track.” However, the 29-year-old does “feel better – including in terms of fitness.”
Schweinsteiger still has a number of targets this season including the World Cup. “There’s a while to go before the World Cup. But we’re all looking forward to it and we’re not going to Brazil for a holiday,” announced the midfielder. “I want to help Bayern retain the Champions League title before that. No other team has managed that and that’s pure motivation for me.” A fit Schweinsteiger could play a key role in that mission as Rummenigge knows all too well: “We need him to help us achieve our targets.”