Bastian Schweinsteiger is about to make history: He is the first German footballer playing for Manchester United.
The details of the transfer should not be the point of this comment, though it needs to be highlighted that “Schweini” is 31 and has only played 20 games in the last season due to injuries and Xabi Alonso occupying his position. United have paid £14 (€20m).
Manchester United and Bayern Munich have played some memorable games against each other. THE final comes to mind. In Barcelona in 1999 Bayern were dominant throughout 90 minutes nonetheless they have lost the Champions League final due to 2 late goals in injury i.e. Fergie time. Ferguson went to Ottmar Hitzfeld after the match and offered his consolations:
I’m sorry Ottmar, i’m sorry.
The status of both clubs has prevented them from meeting in the group stages.
The link between the cities goes far beyond the realm of soccer. It is striking that the other Manchester club Man City have signed far more German players; in fact they done so and demonstrated that football can act as a means for reconciliation between the two people. Bert Trautmann was signed when most people in Britain rather considered him an enemy instead of a goalkeeper of the away team. Though the difference between the two was small, especially in London or among City’s arch rivals. Soon however, Trautmann won over the sceptics at City and elsewhere in England and remains one of the all time favourites at the Etihad.
The red half of Manchester however have not seen a German wearing the beloved Red Devils badge. Will Schweinsteiger be the bridgehead for more players an Manchester United, now or later?
A lot depends of course on Schweinsteiger and his performance at Old Trafford. Any new manager might also influence the signing of further German players as will the quality of them.