Cologne - Bastian Schweinsteiger has been voted Germany's footballer of the year for 2013. The midfielder from treble winners FC Bayern Munich received 92 of the 527 ballots cast by journalists under the aegis of the weekly sports magazine kicker.
Schweinsteiger: "Title for the team"
, who turns 29 on 1 August, topped an FC Bayern 1-2-3, ahead of team colleagues Franck Ribery (87 votes) and Thomas Müller (85). Jupp Heynckes, in his final season in charge in Munich, scooped the coach of the year award.
"I'm a bit surprised really," the 98-time Germany international professed to kicker, "because there were periods where I was coming in for a fair amount of criticism." He also stressed the collective significance of the award, which he will officially receive ahead of the Bundesliga season opener against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 9 August, describing it as a "title for the team."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, no fewer than nine of the top 15 players on votes counted came from the ranks of the league, DFB Cup and Champions League winners. Five more were on the books of the losing finalists at Wembley, Borussia Dortmund, with Bayer Leverkusen's Bundesliga top scorer making up the numbers. Last year's winner, Marco Reus, finished eleventh.
Heynckes: "Wonderful conclusion"
For Heynckes, who garnered a massive 383 votes, the coach of the year award is a "wonderful conclusion" to a decades-long career in the game: "This honour rounds it all off in fairytale fashion. These are all dreams come true." In a real landslide result, the 68-year-old left SC Freiburg's Christian Streich (77 votes) and Dortmund 's Jürgen Klopp (19) well in his wake.