For now, though, he is promised to Bayern, to say nothing of Germany, which will be one of the favorites to win Euro 2012. Some of Schweinsteiger's German teammates, such as Klose and Lukas Podolski, have a tendency to play better for the national team than for their clubs. But Schweinsteiger drives hard and plays at a consistently high level in both jerseys. His challenge over the next 12 months is clear: to return Bayern Munich to the top of European soccer and the Bundesliga under his new coach, Jupp Heynckes, while pushing the promising young Germany team to the next step: winning trophies.
Doing so will require the focus of a craftsman who realizes that there is always more to achieve in the world's most competitive sport. "What I would like is to play a match without mistakes," Schweinsteiger says during a quiet moment in the cafeteria at Bayern's training center. "Maybe it's impossible, but that's my dream."
In that moment he sounds as though he's 26 going on 40. But it's exactly what his fans in Germany will want to hear from the man who is now their biggest soccer star.