Bastian Schweinsteiger targets Euro 2016 glory as new Germany captain
New Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger intends to lead Joachim Low's side by example, starting with success the 2016 European Championships.
Schweinsteiger, 30, was announced as the new Nationalmannschaft captain by Low in a news conference on Tuesday ahead of their friendly against Argentina -- the side that Germany beat to lift the 2014 World Cup.
The Bayern Munich midfielder succeeds Philipp Lahm, who retired from international football following this summer's triumph in Brazil.
During the news conference, Low also washed away doubts that his new captain -- who missed 13 consecutive Germany friendlies from 2011 through to 2013 -- might be too injury prone, highlighting Schweinsteiger's performance in the World Cup final as evidence of his dependability.
"It's an honour and pleasure, but also a commitment," Schweinsteiger told dfb.de about his new role. "My teammates know that I'll always be ready to support them. That has always been the case and it will stay like that.
"I will only think about what's best for the team. I also expect that from my teammates. To lead by example -- you might call my style that. That's how we won the World Cup."
And that's how Schweinsteiger wants to win the 2016 European Championships. "The goal is the European Championship trophy. The Bundestrainer and the team want to write history," he said. "All of us have not won that trophy. And looking at the outstanding players that will now join us, we will find the right mix of young and experienced players, and try and win the trophy in France."
Schweinsteiger also said that he will not have any problems representing Die Nationalmannschaft off the pitch. "Philipp Lahm has done a great job representing the team. But everyone has an individual style, an individual personality. I know what is expected of a Germany captain, yet the sport has to remain in the centre of attention," he said.
"More than 10 years at Bayern, more than 100 caps, I know quite a few acts in sports, economics and politics, and I will build on that."
Low's decision for the Bayern Munich midfielder was largely praised in German media. The football magazine kicker called it "a logical solution," and also highlighted the World Cup final in which Schweinsteiger was "a real leader in the biggest game of his career."
Broadsheet Die Welt headlined "Schweinsteiger is the face of German football," and Spiegel maintained that the Nationalmannschaft had changed so much during the Low years -- which began with Michael Ballack as captain -- that the Bayern player's appointment mirrored those developments.
A comment article in Spiegel said: "The Munich player is a different character than Ballack. One who also takes responsibility, but has always been a team player. One who has been denied a leading role by many, because he lacks the "boss" attitude, which was common under Ballack. Who has been mocked as the Chefchen [a German way of putting someone down by adding a mignon "chen" at the end] at Bayern a few years ago. A player from the Low school. And therefore the right choice."
Only FAZ voiced some criticism when they said that the decision for Schweinsteiger "was not a surprise, but also no signal for the future." The paper said that the injury-prone player will mostly be "an absent captain," and maintained that Low's decision to not appoint a vice-captain was a chance to build a new team hierarchy following the farewells from Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose. "Winning the World Cup was already spread over a lot of players, and that's why the armband can travel from arm to arm," they wrote.