Maximilian Zaiser was included in Bayern Munich's first-team squad for the first time in their UEFA Champions League match away to Atletico Madrid. But who is the midfielder following in Bastian Schweinsteiger's footsteps?
Allow bundesliga.com to delve a little deeper...
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Central midfield
A Bavarian born and raised, Zaiser started out playing at his local team TSV 1860 Rosenheim, a town situated about 40 miles south-east of Munich. Spotted by Bayern scouts at the age of 13, he moved to the club’s youth academy in 2012, following the very same path to Säbener Straße trodden by Bastian Schweinsteiger 14 years previously. And like fellow central midfielder Schweinsteiger, Zaiser had little trouble rising up through the Bayern ranks, swiftly climbing through the age categories.
The 5’9” right-footer, who can also play on the left wing or in a more central attacking role, was promoted to the Bayern reserves in summer 2018 and even joined the first team on their USA during pre-season that year, playing the second half of a 2-0 friendly defeat to Juventus in Philadelphia at the end of July.
Since then he has made just 24 appearances for Bayern’s second string – a series of injuries and the coronavirus hiatus limiting his outings – but he was still awarded a new one-year contract in July 2020.
Zaiser has featured seven times in the third division in 2020/21, starting four and providing one assist, while he was included in a senior matchday squad for a competitive game for the first time on 1 December 2020 for Bayern’s UEFA Champions League trip away to Atletico Madrid.
Plays a bit like: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Not only are the two players’ career paths similar, their playing styles are too. While elegant on the ball, at ease in possession and able to play passes off either foot, it is arguably their positional sense and tactical awareness that endear them to their coaches, quietly providing stability in the middle of the park.
Did you know?
He may be a holding midfielder by trade, but Zaiser also knows where the goal is. He scored with a brilliant first-time effort from a good 40 yards out just two minutes into a friendly against local Munich side Unterhaching in September 2020 in a match that finished 1-1.
What they’re saying
“If you take a closer look at the positions then you can see we’re missing a lot of players in defensive midfield. We’ll see how the day progresses tomorrow and then we’ll decide who plays. Angelo Stiller and Maximilian Zaiser will be in the squad.” - Bayern head coach Hansi Flick ahead of the match against Atletico Madrid in December 2020
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