Munich - Bastian Schweinsteiger has insisted that he and his team-mates at FC Bayern München are not going to give an inch in the second half of the season, in spite of their comfortable advantage at the top of the Bundesliga.
Maintaining or even increasing their 11-point cushion over second-placed VfL Wolfsburg and the rest of the chasing pack is an objective the Germany captain says he and his success-driven colleagues share.
Learning from mistakes
If any accusation could have been levelled at a dominant Bayern last term, it was that they lifted their guard once they had crossed the finishing line as early as April. As a result, they perhaps lacked their usual tension and rhythm when they faced Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and they got their comeuppance against the eventual winners. "I don’t think we're going to make that mistake again," Schweinsteiger told Sky Sport Deutschland. "We have incredible quality and many players among the ranks who enjoy being at the top and want to win. We're going to stay on our toes right down to the last game of the season. That's only natural, and it's also respectful to the other clubs in the Bundesliga."
To ensure things go even better this year, the squad has been boosted, in quality and depth, while a new level of tactical diversity has rendered the Bavarians practically unfathomable. "We've got a very flexible team," added the 30-year-old. "We can play several different styles and you can only win the biggest titles when you have 20 to 22 players in top form." "That has always been the case, and that is why I believe the players are clever enough to know that." Schweinsteiger is also part of that strong core of players Bayern coach Pep Guardiola can count on between now and June, having put his own injury niggles behind him. "I'm feeling really good," he said. "I’ll get my rhythm and energy back with every passing game."
Flexibility the key
He just becomes one of many options Guardiola has, with the pioneering coach proving that he is not afraid of altering what seems set in stone by moving Philipp Lahm into midfield, and that suits Schweinsteiger too. "I feel better in the centre of the midfield, but I like to play defensive and also enjoy popping up in the attack, looking to get deep and helping out the strikers," said the outstanding all-rounder. A player of that versatility and quality would be a virtue to any club in the world, although for Schweinsteiger, there is only one. "Bayern know what they've got in me and we know exactly what we've got in Bayern," he said when quizzed on his future. "Personally I don't see any rush [to sign a new contract]." Just the rush to get to more silverware in 2015 and beyond, "I want to win EURO 2016," concluded the world champion with a grin.