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Champions League Wembley 2013: Schweinsteiger, Lewandowski and the players to watch

May 23, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
The UEFA Champions League Final will see many star players out on the pitch. Let us take a look at the best of them.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

The common mistake which journalists outside of Germany make is a rather simple one; they almost always tend to mention Bastian Schweinsteiger as the captain of Bayern. While he is not the captain, one can understand why they make this mistake. Without Schweinsteiger, Bayern is not even half the side they are with him in the side. He defends, he attacks, he scores and he tackles. Javier Martinez’s inclusion next to him in defensive midfield has seen the player lovingly called Schweini progress further in his career.

Bayern has lost only three matches this season; two of them came when Schweinsteiger was not present. He is the one who runs the engine room. When the engine breaks down, Bayern breaks down. This was witnessed in 2012. Almost everybody in the Bayern side has a like for like replacement on the bench with the exception of two to four players. Amongst them, Schweinsteiger is the most indispensable.

Take away Schweinsteiger and its lights out for Bayern.

Robert Lewandowski

He was bought as a back up to the Paraguayan Lucas Barrios but he managed to replace the striker. Dortmund fans have grown accustomed to seeing Lewandowski score predatory goals as well as majestic ones. Lewandowski has consistently scored in the past three seasons. He has arguably been at his best this season. Last season, it was clear that Dortmund desperately needed a cold blooded finisher. They have seemingly found one.

The fact that BVB is trying so hard to hold on to him even if for just one more year shows just how important he is to the team. Julian Schieber is a hard worker but he is no Lewandowski. The Pole is a special striker who has quick feet and extraordinary technique for a big striker. One chance is all he will need to finish off Bayern in the final.

Marco Reus

Before Reus came, Dortmund seemed to lack magic and sometimes imagination in midfield in the Champions League. Reus has made them extremely brilliant this season. His skill and imagination are unlike any other footballer. He is quick and direct. Dortmund lacked the directness of Reus last season too. Also, Reus has a good history against Bayern with Gladbach. He knows how to break them down as he repeatedly did so last season.

The fans will hope to see Reus on the wing in the final. This is because the German international has not really produced from the position behind the striker in midfield. He is almost a number ‘nine’; his role can be compared to that of Miroslav Klose’s when the German national side would play in a 4-4-2. He is at his best on the wing.

Ilkay Gündogan

Following a few friendlies for Germany earlier in the year, there was speculation (or rather simple exaggeration or appreciation) that Gündogan had what it takes to replace Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Bayern midfielder of course regained his place in the side when he returned but there was indeed reason behind the thought. Gündogan is very similar to the battle hardened Schweinsteiger.

He has a wonderful eye for a long pass. He connects the attack and midfield spectacularly. He tries to score goals regularly. And on top of that, he forms an extra line of defence if the opposition starts a sudden counterattack. Gündogan has done the job which Sebastian Kehl was not quite up to last season. He has managed to form the perfect partnership with Sven Bender in this competition. And most importantly, he has remained calm under pressure, rarely giving the ball away.

Thomas Müller

He is definitely not the most extraordinary player in a Bayern side simply filled with gifted stars. His technique is not the best and he seems clumsy at best on the ball. But sometimes, when one sees Thomas Müller dribble, one knows he perhaps prefers to look clumsy and use his intelligence than to look classy only to the detriment of his team. Müller is the winner for Bayern.

He is the one who saves them under pressure. He scored a penalty in a 1-0 win over Lille this season. He struck a vital second goal against Arsenal. He scored against Juventus and Barcelona for good measure. And he scored in last season’s Champions League final. Müller is the good luck charm for Bayern. And it is incredibly important to keep one of your most intelligent players and your good luck charm on the pitch for the entire duration of a close encounter.

Do you feel any other player warrants a mention? Let us hear your thoughts!

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