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17 years, 20 trophies

Thank you Basti!

After 17 years, 20 trophies, 66 goals, and exactly 500 appearances for FC Bayern, Bastian Schweinsteiger is leaving the German record champions to join top English club Manchester United. “He wants to try something new before the end of his career,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explained before the Team Presentation at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. To give him that opportunity, FCB granted Schweinsteiger’s request to be released from his contract before the official expiry date in June 2016.

Schweinsteiger, now 30 years old, is one of the most merited players in Bayern’s history to leave the club. When the lad from Upper Bavaria switched to the Säbener Strasse from TSV 1860 Rosenheim at the tender age of 14, nobody could have guessed what a stunning career lay ahead. World champion, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winner, UEFA Supercup champion, eight German championship titles, seven DFB Cup wins, and German Footballer of the Year for 2013. No other German professional can boast such a phenomenal track record as Schweinsteiger, who can even add two further German championship titles (gained with the U19 and U17 junior teams) to his list of achievements. 

A chapter in the annals of history

In November 2002 he kicked off his professional career as an 18-year-old youth talent. In the final Champions League group stage match against RC Lens (3-3), Schweinsteiger replaced Mehmet Scholl in the 76th minute. He went on to appear in 499 further fixtures for the German record champions. His final match was the last match of the 2014/15 Bundesliga season, at home to FSV Mainz 05, where he also scored his last goal for FC Bayern. His 45th Bundesliga goal, the 66th of his FCB career, raised the score to 2-0.

At 500 fixtures Schweinsteiger is in eighth place in both the FC Bayern all-time ranking and on the list of FCB players with the highest number of Bundesliga appearances (342). With 103 European appearances he is in second place behind Oliver Kahn (130). And of course, Schweinsteiger has also earned his place as one of the most valuable scorers in the history of FC Bayern: his goal in the 2013 treble season and the following season’s opener, both against against Hertha, were the winning goals that led Bayern to their early championship titles.

Often down, always back up

But the crowd hero’s career has not always been rosy, despite his name being rounded off with the addition Fußballgott when the line-up was called out. Many injuries set back the midfielder again and again over recent years; he missed many matches for FCB, as well as for Germany. And he will never orget the missed penalty against Chelsea in the Finale dahoam in 2012.

But “Schweini,” as the fans called him at the beginning of his career and kids still do today, got back up again and again. Only one year later he hoisted the coveted Champions League trophy into the London night sky after the triumph over Dortmund, and another year later he held the World Cup trophy in his hands in Rio – marked by a tough fight in which he ceaselessly stood up to rough tactics from his Argentinian opponents, becoming the symbol of the German World Cup triumph.

Red Devils instead of Bestia Negra

So now it's Manchester, the English record champions to their German counterparts, Red Devils instead of Bestia Negra, Old Trafford rather than the Allianz Arena. In the north-west of England Schweinsteiger will encounter former Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. It was the Dutchman who moved the Fußballgott from the flank to defensive midfield, making his emergence as a world-class player possible. United have gone two seasons without a trophy, but record champion and record cup winner Schweinsteiger is set to help his new club return to their former glory.

On 27 August the Champions League group stages will be drawn in Nyon. FCB are seeded in Pot 1, and United can qualify in the play-offs after a year away. It is possible they will encounter Munich due to the new ranking procedures, so an early reunion between FC Bayern, their fans, and Schweinsteiger is possible in the coming autumn. Thank you for everything, Basti – take care and see you soon!