Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top-flight sides.

Today we get an insight into just how good a child skier FC Bayern München midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger really was, catch up on a reunion of sorts at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and wish many happy returns to Borussia Dortmund's club captain.

is known primarily as a world-class midfielder, but he might also have been a top-class skiertoo. As a teenager he ditched the slopes to concentrate on football, but he has remained close friends with former competitor and current German Olympic skier Felix Neureuther. Banter between the duo evidently continues to this day, with Schweinsteiger asking, via German press agency SID, "Felix, do you really think that if I'd continued skiing, you would have had a chance at beating me?!"

Dortmund captain celebrates his 34th birthday today, a date he shares with team-mate , who turns 25. Kehl has featured in BVB's last five matches and his comeback has certainly been a positive, with Dortmund winning their last two. Here's to hoping there are many more birthdays for Kehl to celebrate in black and yellow, and opportunities for the former Germany international to add to his 284 Bundesliga appearances. Happy Birthday Sebastian and Julian!

Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypiä may still have been digesting the shock DFB Cup quarter-final to Bundesliga 2 side 1. FC Kaiserslautern on Thursday morning, but the visit of an old friend may have cheered him up a tad. Bayer's Bismarckstraße training complex welcomed former France head coach Gerard Houllier, under whom Hyypiä enjoyed his greatest success as a player at Liverpool FC, winning four trophies between 1999 and 2004.

Bernie Reeves

Discover more of the Bundelsiga's quirky side on Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: