Bastian Schweinsteiger: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Bayern Munich's Superstar
He didn't play in Bayern Munich's narrow 1-0 defeat against FC Basel in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, and that might offer some of the most overt and transparent evidence indicating just how much Bastian Schweinsteiger means to the Bavarian giants.
He is a veritable rock in midfield for the Bavarians.
A mainstay on the pedestal of world football stardom since the 2006 World Cup, when Schweinsteiger was one of the Germany's brightest talents during their run to the last four, he has shown a remarkable penchant for consistency—seen both in his impeccable technique and overall standout performance.
It's little wonder he is linked to the biggest names in club football each summer; Schweinsteiger is widely regarded as one of the best holding midfielders in the world.
That much is obvious. The next five facts might not be at first glance.
Here are five things you might not know about the German superstar.
His First Senior Goal for Bayern Munich
He didn't always sport that buzz cut, after all.
On Sept. 13, 2003, a 19-year-old Schweinsteiger scored against Wolfsburg in an eventual 3-2 road loss for Bayern.
It would be the first of many for the chiseled midfielder, who has seen the return rate bloom to 45 during his career in Bavaria.
A Central Midfielder, He Once Was Not
Some of Schweinsteiger's first appearances for the senior Bayern side saw him play at left-back, actually.
He moved to left midfield, where his savvy and deceptive pace made him a danger on the wing.
It wasn't until the advent of the devastating winger tandem of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in 2009 that Schweinsteiger eased into his role as a holding midfielder under manager Louis van Gaal, a role he has since made a point of mastering.
A Sporting Youth
As a youth, Schweinsteiger was a talented skiier who had a choice of making a career out of the sport.
He opted for football however—a decision that obviously appealed to both Bayern Munich and the German Football Association's collective hearts and minds.
He still hits the slopes when he gets a chance, however.
First International Competition
Still just 19, Schweinsteiger joined a host of teenage European talents making their international competition debut at Euro 2004.
Along with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, Schweinsteiger earned rave reviews for his poise and control in midfield for the Germans, and even assisted Michael Ballack's goal against the Czech Republic in group-stage play.
He Can Play a Little Basketball
As seen with his skiing prowess, Schweinsteiger is in no way constrained to excellence in one sport.
In this fun video, shot with a member of the Bayern Munich basketball team, Schweinsteiger showed off his jumper—pretty good form, to boot—as well as some prodigious range that would make even Jimmer Fredette blush.