The start of two great careers

Read article contents
Increase size

On 13 November 2002, FC Bayern played RC Lens in their fourth game of the Champions League group stage. Only 22,000 fans were at the Olympic Stadium and none of them could’ve known they were about to witness history being made. It wasn’t the result that was most noteworthy – the match ended 3-3 – but two substitutions.

In the 76th minute, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld brought 18 year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger on for Mehmet Scholl, who was captain at the time. Then in the second minute of added time he introduced a certain Philipp Lahm – who had turned 19 just two days before – in place of goalscorer Markus Feulner. Two young talents made their professional debuts. Lahm was barely able to make an impact but Schweinsteiger was involved straightaway and even took a few set-pieces, as the above photo of a corner shows.

Since then the duo have left a big mark on world football, particularly at FC Bayern. Both collected eight Bundesliga titles, became World Cup winners in 2014 and played a crucial role in the 2013 treble. Lahm hung up his boots at the end of last season after 517 games for the record German champions. Schweinsteiger, who wore the FCB shirt 500 times, is still playing for American MLS side Chicago Fire. They’re among the greatest players of their generation – and it all began on this day 15 years ago!