Bastian Schweinsteiger has been named as Germany's new captain, assuming the role vacated by Philipp Lahm following his retirement after the World Cup final
Dusseldorf: Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was on Tuesday named the new captain of world champions Germany by manager Joachim Loew. Loew turned to the 30-year-old to succeed Philipp Lahm, who stepped down from international duty after skippering Germany to the World Cup in July.
"Bastian will be a great and dignified captain of our national team," Loew told a press conference in Duesseldorf. Schweinsteiger is currently injured with a knee problem, leaving goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to lead Germany out on Wednesday in an international friendly in Duesseldorf against Argentina in a rematch 50 days after they met in the World Cup final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
Schweinsteiger became a symbol of Germany's charge to a fourth World Cup, battling on through the final victory over Argentina despite taking an elbow in the face that left blood pouring from a cut. "Joachim Loew and I have worked together since 2004," Schweinsteiger told the German FA's official website.
"This time, with the World Cup win as a high point, has of course bound us together. "I therefore felt it was a privilege and recognition to be appointed as first among equals by a coach who knows me a very long time. He's a trainer whose confidence and support I've always felt."
Loew also announced that former VfB Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider would become his new assistant in October. Schneider replaces Hansi Flick, who has taken up a new role as sporting director of the German Football Association (DFB). Schweinsteiger, who has 108 caps for Germany, is currently out of action because of a tendon problem in his knee.
But Loew said that he was confident that the Bayern star's vast experience would help him to lead Germany to the 2016 European Championship in France. "Bastian Schweinsteiger has always taken on great responsibility," Loew said. "I knew that I could always rely on him.
"Think back to the World Cup final and what he achieved for the team there and also in the games before it. "At the moment Bastian is injured but of course I've talked to him in the past few weeks. I was in Munich and his injury is not one that is going to keep him out for months. "His big goal is Euro 2016.
I could sense that he's still bursting with ambition." If Schweinsteiger does miss more time than expected, Loew said he is fortunate to have several other major personalities in his squad. The 54-year-old suggested that the likes of Neuer, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels can step up in Schweinsteiger's absence.
Hummels and fellow defender Jerome Boateng will sit out Wednesday's friendly, although Loew hopes that they can both return to training before Germany's first Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland on Sunday. Real Madrid midfielder Khedira has been ruled out of both matches due to injury, with Hoffenheim's Sebastian Rudy earning a late call up to the squad.
While Wednesday's glamour friendly against Argentina will bring back fond memories of Germany's triumph in Brazil, Loew has already set his sights on further success. "The next big goal for us after the final in Rio clearly has to be the European Championship final in Paris," Loew said. "The journey already begins with the next game on Sunday against Scotland."