Bastian Schweinsteiger to Fill Positional Holes for Chicago Fire in 2019

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Bastian Schweinsteiger is back for a third season with the Chicago Fire in 2019, and the position he’ll play this year is…wherever he’s needed. Obviously, he’s a natural and preferred #6, and thus his best place is in the defensive midfield, but last season he played as a central defender on many occasions, filling the team’s talent and depth gap at the position.

According to Schweinsteiger himself, in this interview he just did with ESPN at Major League Soccer Media Day (video below), he played the final eight games of the 2018 season at centre-back. Schweinsteiger also said he believes central defense is where he can most help the team out right now.

That is unless of course the team addresses this issue in the offseason. The Fire have been active in the marketplace, but they have yet to resolve their number one problem area. Obviously, there is still plenty of time until the season opener in March, and yes, lots of potential business that could still get done.

“We’re still negotiating with Johan (Kappelhof) in the hopes that he’ll return,” Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez said at the team’s kit launch/Motorola branding event last night.

“We’re in advanced to deep negotiations with two foreign center backs. Both require transfers, so there’s the added complexity of trying to reach agreement between the club and the player. Both are far from finished, but we have contingencies against those two as well.”

“We would like to close all three, but certainly two out of the three would help us quite a bit.”

If Rodriguez can get those deals closed, then perhaps we will see Basti back in the middle of the park where he really belongs.

Schweinsteiger is now 34 ,while team captain and fellow midfielder Dax McCarty is 32. The duo are arguably the most talented two players on the team, and by some considerable margin. Thus the window for the Fire to win something with this stellar pair as their core/nucleus will be closing soon.

“It’s not our desire,” Rodriguez said of putting Bastian at the back.

nelson rodriguez bastian schweinsteiger

“I think our team is at its best when he’s further forward. I think when he and Dax were in synchronicity we showed what type of football we could play and that it could be effective football.”

“Having Basti is a luxury.”

“You have a hole and Basti can fill it through his intelligence and his superb technical ability, but our preference would be for him to play in the midfield.”

It’s really coincidental how both Bastian’s current team, and his former team Manchester United, are aggressively trying to upgrade the very same position right now.

Fire Coach Veljko Paunovic is always full of very high praise for Schweinsteiger, and he absolutely loves the German’s versatility.

“You might see him as a goalkeeper,” Paunovic said at the jersey reveal.

“I’m being serious. He is a very versatile player, and he proved that he can help us in different positions. We will try to use all of his talents at all positions, so we can benefit from that.”

bastian schweinsteiger

As for Schweinsteiger himself, he is flexible and said he’ll go wherever Pauno most needs him.

“I’m very motivated and hungry for the new season because last year didn’t go so well for us from the beginning on,” the captain of the 2014 World Cup champion team said Tuesday night.

Asked about his goals for the upcoming season, he responded: “My goal is to develop the game style and to develop the new tactical things, but for me, first of all, the most important thing is the playoffs.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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