Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is yet to pin down his role in new coach Pep Guardiola’s system, and the German football magazine kicker is warning of “trouble in sight.”
Schweinsteiger, 29, played a pivotal role in Jupp Heynckes’ record-breaking final year, enjoying the season of his life alongside midfield partner Javi Martinez as Bayern claimed the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.
In the aftermath of his commanding performance in the Champions League final victory over Borussia Dortmund in May, Schweinsteiger was voted Germany’s Footballer of the Year ahead of teammate Franck Ribery, who has since claimed the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.
However, he has struggled to replicate that form this season under former Barcelona coach Guardiola.
The Germany international has stated that he sees himself primarily as a holding midfielder, but he has spent the majority of the campaign in other roles, with full-back Philipp Lahm spending more time in Schweinsteiger’s favoured position in Guardiola’s 4-1-4-1 formation.
Schweinsteiger, therefore, has more often played in a more advanced role alongside Toni Kroos, but the statistics show that moving him forwards diminishes his influence: in four games in holding midfield, he averaged 107 passes and had 117 touches of the ball, while his average elsewhere drops to 80 passes and 93 touches of the ball.
“All options are open for Basti on that position,” Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer told kicker. “I don’t think he’s played in too offensive a position.”
However, with Thiago Alcantara returning from injury, and Martinez already back in the team, Schweinsteiger may have difficulty in reestablishing himself in his favourite position.
“It will be interesting to see how Guardiola can solve the Schweinsteiger problem,” kicker said. “A conflict is bound to occur.”