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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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Jun 14 11:00amMoscow
Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Jun 15 8:00amYekaterinburg
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Jun 19 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Russia vs Egypt
Jun 20 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
Jun 25 10:00amVolgograd
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt
Jun 25 10:00amSamara
Uruguay vs Russia
Group B
Jun 15 11:00amSaint Petersburg
Morocco 0 - 1 Iran
Jun 15 2:00pmSochi
Portugal 3 - 3 Spain
Jun 20 8:00amMoscow
Portugal vs Morocco
Jun 20 2:00pmKazan
Iran vs Spain
Jun 25 2:00pmSaransk
Iran vs Portugal
Jun 25 2:00pmKaliningrad
Spain vs Morocco
Group C
Jun 16 6:00amKazan
France 2 - 1 Australia
Jun 16 12:00pmSaransk
Peru 0 - 1 Denmark
Jun 21 8:00amSamara
Denmark vs Australia
Jun 21 11:00amYekaterinburg
France vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amSochi
Australia vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amMoscow
Denmark vs France
Group D
Jun 16 9:00amMoscow
Argentina 1 - 1 Iceland
Jun 16 3:00pmKaliningrad
Croatia 2 - 0 Nigeria
Jun 21 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Argentina vs Croatia
Jun 22 11:00amVolgograd
Nigeria vs Iceland
Jun 26 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Iceland vs Croatia
Jun 26 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Nigeria vs Argentina
Group E
Jun 17 8:00amSamara
Costa Rica 0 - 1 Serbia
Jun 17 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Brazil 1 - 1 Switzerland
Jun 22 8:00amSaint Petersburg
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Jun 22 2:00pmKaliningrad
Serbia vs Switzerland
Jun 27 2:00pmMoscow
Serbia vs Brazil
Jun 27 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Group F
Jun 17 11:00amMoscow
Germany 0 - 1 Mexico
Jun 18 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Republic
Jun 23 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Korea Republic vs Mexico
Jun 23 2:00pmSochi
Germany vs Sweden
Jun 27 10:00amKazan
Korea Republic vs Germany
Jun 27 10:00amYekaterinburg
Mexico vs Sweden
Group G
Jun 18 11:00amSochi
Belgium 3 - 0 Panama
Jun 18 2:00pmVolgograd
Tunisia 1 - 2 England
Jun 23 8:00amMoscow
Belgium vs Tunisia
Jun 24 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
England vs Panama
Jun 28 2:00pmKaliningrad
England vs Belgium
Jun 28 2:00pmSaransk
Panama vs Tunisia
Group H
Jun 19 8:00amSaransk
Colombia vs Japan
Jun 19 11:00amMoscow
Poland vs Senegal
Jun 24 11:00amYekaterinburg
Japan vs Senegal
Jun 24 2:00pmKazan
Poland vs Colombia
Jun 28 10:00amVolgograd
Japan vs Poland
Jun 28 10:00amSamara
Senegal vs Colombia
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Jun 30 10:00amKazan
[1C] vs [2D]
Jun 30 2:00pmSochi
[1A] vs [2B]
Jul 1 10:00amMoscow
[1B] vs [2A]
Jul 1 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
[1D] vs [2C]
Round of 16
Jul 2 10:00amSamara
[1E] vs [2F]
Jul 2 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
[1G] vs [2H]
Jul 3 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[1F] vs [2E]
Jul 3 2:00pmMoscow
[1H] vs [2G]
Quarter Final
Jul 6 10:00amNizhny Novgorod
[W49] vs [W50]
Jul 6 2:00pmKazan
[W53] vs [W54]
Jul 7 10:00amSamara
[W55] vs [W56]
Jul 7 2:00pmSochi
[W51] vs [W52]
Jul 10 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
[W57] vs [W58]
Jul 11 2:00pmMoscow
[W59] vs [W60]
Third place match
Jul 14 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[L61] vs [L62]
Jul 15 11:00amMoscow
Final: FIFA World Cup 2018