Bundesliga

All-clear for Schweinsteiger but hard work ahead for Bayern

Munich - Bastian Schweinsteiger and his fellow FIFA World Cup winners from FC Bayern München spent a grand total of 11 hours and 18 minutes on American soil on Wednesday. During that time, the club’s vice-captain had the hearts of all FC Bayern fans, be they in Munich or Manhattan, in their mouths.

Lewandowski shows his class

After 86 minutes of Bayern’s

2-1 friendly defeat

to the MLS All-Stars in Portland, Oregon, Schweinsteiger crumpled to a heap after sustaining an ankle injury from a tough challenge from Canadian midfielder Will Johnson. Having seen their midfield heartbeat suffer an injury-plagued club season last campaign, unsurprisingly, Bayern fans were praying for good news. They got it. “I was lucky,” admitted the 30-year-old after the game, “it’s just a bruise”. This was subsequently confirmed by the club’s Twitter account:

Sighs of relief aside, there was more positive news to emerge from Portland, despite the defeat inflicted by former Bayern star Landon Donovan’s winner.

Robert Lewandowski

showed his class with his fifth goal in six pre-season games, this strike almost self-assisted. Receiving the ball from Rafinha on the edge of the box, the Pole flicked it up past a defender, before smashing into the top corner from 18 yards.

The strike was greeted with cheers on the Bayern bench, many of whom were preparing to take their first steps onto a field since the FIFA World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July. Indeed,

Philipp Lahm

,

Thomas Müller

, Schweinsteiger,

Manuel Neuer

,

Dante

,

Jerome Boateng

and

Dante

,

Arjen Robben

all got a run out during the second half, but the biggest cheer from the 21,000 strong crowd in Portland was reserved for

Mario Götze

, scorer of the wonderful German winner in the aforementioned final.

Long road ahead

The next assignment for the jetlagged stars will be at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, as the club’s official pre-season presentation takes place in front of their home fans. Schweinsteiger himself hinted at the tiredness after the game, but insisted that the overriding emotion, apart from relief, was the pleasure taken in bringing Bayern to the States. “You’re always representing the club,” he said. “Even though we were only here for a few hours, we hope we left the people of Portland with a positive impression and that they enjoyed the game. For us now, the season is just around the corner.” That season gets properly underway on Wednesday with the DFL Supercup against Borussia Dortmund, where Lewandowski might find it harder to escape the defence’s attention. As one of the club’s new stars, the spotlight will be trained on him at the pre-season unveiling in his new home on Saturday. A different spotlight, however, will be trained on him a whole lot more intensely when he returns to his old home, the Signal Iduna Park, to face his old teammates, but sporting a new kit. Daniel Thacker