Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger is a huge admirer of Andrea Pirlo’s game but tonight, he has set his sights on stopping the acclaimed Italian midfielder by playing a strong box-to-box game alongside Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
Khedira, 25, has significantly improved as a player between the 2010 World Cup and this summer’s Euro 2012 as a stint with the Spanish champions has elevated him to a whole new class.
Schweinsteiger, who is considered by many to be the most complete German player, has been very impressed by Khedira’s growth and is confident that the former Stuttgart midfielder can stop Pirlo’s gritty Azzurri side.
“Italy are a big nation. They have won a lot and improved a lot in the past two years. They have many good players, but I like Pirlo best; it is fantastic watching him play. But there are ways to stop him, too,” Schweinsteiger told UEFA.com.
The Bayern Munich play-maker added: “Sami [Khedira] is leaving a great impression here. His experiences at [Real] Madrid have made him a much stronger player. He is making attacking runs, and scoring, but he’s there to help defend too.
“It must never be that we both rush forward and leave nobody to defend. The center must always be shut down. We are both aware of that and can totally rely on one another.”
It has been a frustrating few years for Schweinsteiger from a silverware perspective as his teams continue to fall short on the grand stage despite glowing performances.
Bayern lost twice in the UEFA Champions League final over the course of the last three seasons while Germany has failed to collect a trophy despite reaching either the final or the semis in every major tournament since 2006.
Schweini is aware of the missing glory but has vowed to remain patient as another opportunity awaits Joachim Low’s side in this tournament.
“I have played a lot of matches this season, but facing Italy in this classic fixture is still a highlight of the season. I have the feeling that the time has come to beat the next big nation,” Schweinsteiger asserted.
“We have beaten England, Argentina, Holland and Brazil and now it is Italy’s turn. Since 2005, we have been on a constant upward curve. It is important that there is a philosophy and to follow that.
“We can all be happy to have such a good and successful national team. Of course, the culmination [a title] is still missing, but we are getting closer and closer,” he concluded.