Any player who wins 50 international caps by the age of 23 is clearly no ordinary talent, yet that best-mark - still a national record in Germany - is not the only reason Bastian Schweinsteiger is a key figure in the three-time FIFA World Cup™ winners’ squad. The Bayern Munich midfielder is the lynchpin of Joachim Low’s Germany side and, after recent successes at club level - including lifting the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup trophies - he has his sights set on winning silverware on the biggest stage of them all.

A one-club man, having joined Bayern as a 14-year-old, Schweinsteiger was deployed as a right winger at the start of his professional career in 2002, but the Upper Bavarian native is at his best in central midfield where he can dictate the pace of matches. Schweinsteiger’s constant availability to receive a pass, coupled with his reading of the game and top-class technique have made him the perfect link between defence and attack both for Bayern and Germany. Once affectionately known as “Schweini” as a younger player, he has since developed into a true on-field leader who sets the tone for others to follow.

Schweinsteiger, who was named as Germany’s Player of the Year in 2013, has amassed over 100 international caps and will not turn 30 until a few weeks after the conclusion of Brazil 2014. He truly became a global household name at the 2006 finals in his homeland, thanks to his brace against Portugal to earn Germany third place. Four years later he was one of the pillars of the national team that again ended up with the bronze medal, a track record that has given him added incentive to do better in Brazil.