Munich - While much is already known about FC Bayern Munich and Germany captain , he is nevertheless still something of an enigmatic figure.
So apart from his enviable trophy haul, including eight Bundesliga crowns, seven DFB Cup winners' medals, two DFL Supercups and a UEFA Champions League title - not to mention last summer's FIFA World Cup triumph - what else is there to discover about German football's most decorated player of all time?
bundesliga.com brings you ten little-known facts about one of the most famous and beloved footballers on the planet...
Born in Kolbermoor near Munich, on 1 August 1984, Schweinsteiger followed his elder brother Tobias into football, joining FV Oberaudorf aged six. After moving to TSV Rosenheim, he joined the Reds in 1998. His first game in Bayern’s first team followed in 2002, while he made his international debut on 6 June 2004 in a 2-0 defeat to Hungary. Before Schweinsteiger was even 20, he took part in that year’s European Championships.
Bastian is two years younger than Tobias, but he insists his older brother does not envy his glittering career. “Absolutely not, we both would love to play against each other,” he told Der Spiegel. “I would also love to play in the same team as him, but that’s going to be difficult.” Tobias and Bastian were reunited in 2012 when Tobias signed for FCB's reserves, but ended up on opposite sides in a friendly in 2013 after Tobias joined Unterhaching.
Alongside former Bayern and 1. FC Köln striker Lukas Podolski, ‘Schweini’ was at the forefront of a promising crop of players in the national team as Germany prepared to host the the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. The duo went on to symbolise the team who brought a communal smile to the face of the nation for their roles in 2006's ‘summer fairytale’, while both then played their part in Germany's fourth World Cup triumph in 2014.
Schweinsteiger’s other sporting passion is basketball and he very nearly made an appearance in Germany’s second tier, only to turn down the chance due to potential risks. “Just imagine what would have happened if he’d fallen badly or got injured some other way,” said Dirk Bauermann, coach of both the Gemany and Bayern Munich basketball team, who had discussed the idea with the midfielder and a sponsor.
After dating Munich-born model Sarah Brandner between 2007 and 2014, Schweinsteiger's other half is now Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic. After being photographed together in Munich, New York and Melbourne among other places, they officially announced themselves as a couple in February 2015. Schweinsteiger can regularly be spotted at Ivanovic's games and recently had the Serbian word duso - 'sweetheart' - printed on his boots.
The 'Schweini' sausage
The name 'Schweini' was used by a local meat producer to market one of their prized goods. The ‘Schweini’ sausage was brought out a year prior to the 2006 World Cup finals, but when the manufacturers attempted to have the name copyrighted, it turned into something of a media event. Bastian was far from impressed and successfully applied to have his nickname removed from said sausage.
Pull your socks up!
During a mid-season training camp in Dubai in 2012/13 , Schweinsteiger fell foul of his club’s strict clothing rules when he turned up for training wearing the wrong coloured socks. “We need discipline and that starts with uniform socks,” said then coach Jupp Heynckes. After accepting the ensuing fine, Schweinsteiger pulled his socks up to help Bayern to an historic treble.
In order to avoid a media scrum after being diagnosed with an ankle injury in early 2012, Schweinsteiger escaped from the surgery of then club medical boss Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt via a back entrance and sent his brother Tobias out the front past the awaiting media with Sarah. The pair even swapped their clothes to make Tobias, who left the surgery on crutches, look as much like Bastian as possible.
Level with Der Titan
Schweinsteiger admitted that one of the last times he shed a tear was after Oliver Kahn’s farewell game. “I cried a little. Ever since I became a professional footballer, I'd sat next to him in the dressing room before every game, so a few tears flowed,” he told Spiegel Online. Schweinsteiger is now level with Der Titan and Mehmet Scholl as Bayern’s most successful Bundesliga title-winner with eight championship wins.
Friends in high places
Schweinsteiger appears to have a close bond with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel. They first met at the 2006 World Cup and then sat together at a EURO 2008 group game against Austria, also sharing a warm embrace following the 2013 UEFA Champions League final. The narrative continued with the now famous images of Merkel celebrating with the players in the dressing room after Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph against Argentina.