Created on 03-09-2014 at 09:45 AM
Germany coach Joachim Löw has been calling Bastian Schweinsteiger his “emotional leader" for as long as anyone can remember, and the Bayern player has now been appointed captain of the national team for the next two years. He is currently injured and will be unable to lead his men out in Wednesday's rerun of the World Cup final, but the friendly fixture is a poignant reminder of the most significant match of his illustrious career to date. “Look at the pictures from the final and what he achieved for us and the team, and of course in all his appearances before that,” Löw said on Tuesday in Düsseldorf.
Schweinsteiger fought until he dropped at the legendary Maracanã Stadium, and even then he came back for more. A wound under his right eye was the visible reminder of that. “I wanted to get as far as possible and gave everything for that,” the Munich veteran said after the triumphant victory. The national coach did not have to speak for long about the reasons for promoting his vice captain. “Bastian Schweinsteiger has always accepted great responsibility when called upon,” Löw stated, “he's the legitimate successor to Philipp Lahm and has stood in for him in the past.”
Schweinsteiger is still working through the after-effects of the extraordinary effort he expended on 13 July in Rio de Janeiro and in the weeks leading up to the final. A stubborn knee injury has meant the 30-year-old missing the start of the new season and he remains sidelined for now, although that had no influence on Löw’s decision: “It's not the kind of injury that will keep him out for months. I hope he’ll be back as soon as possible. I trust him completely. He has a huge target, Euro 2016.”
“It's an honour and a pleasure, but also a great responsibility,” the Bayern star commented. “Joachim Löw and I have been working together since 2004, and this period, with the highlight of our World Cup victory, naturally brings you closer. So I feel it is a privilege and also a recognition to be named first among equals, as it were.”
In contrast to Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger did not feel the “magical moments” in Brazil (Löw) were a reason to retire from the international game. “I sensed he was still bursting with ambition,” reported the coach after meeting up with his new captain in Munich. “He’s extremely well-regarded and accepted in the dressing room and he's a good communicator.”
For the rerun of the World Cup final Düsseldorf, keeper Manuel Neuer will wear the armband, although Schweinsteiger’s permanent deputy has yet to be selected. Neuer, Sami Khedira, Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Schweinsteiger will form the new team committee. “We’ve totally refuted the idea we have no leaders and characters,” remarked Löw.