Thursday 22 February 2018

Schweinsteiger slams German fans

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER has called for his German side to be given more respect, but says that he has plenty for Ireland.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is set to wear the captain's armband at Lansdowne Road in the absence of the suspended Philipp Lahm, and he expects the Irish crowd to create an intimidating environment.

"It is not easy to win there because the Irish are very strong and combative, they wear their hearts on their sleeves and have an experienced coach," said Schweinsteiger.

"In addition, they have a passionate crowd -- the atmosphere there is always fantastic."

However, while the 28-year-old spoke highly of Friday's opposing fans, he has called for the German supporters to be kinder to their own side.

Germany came in for criticism after struggling to beat Austria last month, and Schweinsteiger feels that a team who reached the semi-final of Euro 2012 after a run of 14 successive competitive victories should be cut more slack.

There is also a perception that they bottled it in losing that record to Italy.

"Not many teams can claim to have such a track record," he said. "I don't think everything is bad. I think the respect is missing a bit. It is nowhere written down that we are going to win every game."

Schweinsteiger did cause controversy by suggesting that a better team spirit was required, observing that some players on the bench did not celebrate goals scored in Poland and Ukraine.

"It was just the way I perceived things," he said.

"It should not be anything negative or seen as criticism of the national team.

"I just want us to get better and that we all sacrifice ourselves for a big, common goal."

Irish Independent

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