Nearly seven months to the day since the announcement of Bastian Schweinsteiger's testimonial match at FC Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire are ready for their trans-Atlantic travels and a first-of-its-kind experience for an MLS club. Schweinsteiger, who departed his hometown club in 2015 after a trophy-laden 13-year tenure, will be the focal point of a four-day stint for the Fire in Germany, culminating with the spectacle of Schweinsteiger's tribute match at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, Aug. 28 (1:30 PM CT).
In his 13 years with the reigning German Bundesliga champions, Schweinsteiger won the Bundesliga title eight times, the DFB-Pokal Cup (German Cup) seven times as well as the UEFA Champions League once. As part of the treble-winning team of the 2013 season, Schweinsteiger also earned Germany’s Footballer of the Year honors.
Get up to speed on what to expect from the Fire's overseas travels and stay tuned to Chicago-Fire.com/Munich for complete coverage of the trip.
The Allianz Arena was home to two Munich football clubs until the summer of 2017, when it became solely FC Bayern’s home. Earlier this month, the club officially showcased their newly redesigned home to the public in a Telekom Sport Trophy match against Manchester United.
Part of the new look includes the red, blue and white FC Bayern logo formed with the north seats, the words "Mia-san-Mia” – “We Are Who We Are” – in the west stand, and the club's name "FC Bayern München" in the east stands.
Click here to view a photo gallery of FC Bayern’s home, which include an image of a euphoric Schweinsteiger hoisting the Bundesliga trophy plastered on the walls.
While FC Bayern Munich has continued to add world-class talent in the years since Basti's departure -- currently boasting young stars like Joshua Kimmich, James Rodríguez and others -- there remains a number of familiar names and faces with whom Schweinsteiger enjoyed some of his greatest successes for club and country. Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry, Thiago and others all have starred across eras for Bayern Munich and surely will be excited to welcome Basti back to the Allianz Arena. Schweinsteiger also played one season (2014-15) with star striker Robert Lewandowski, who has sped past the 100-goal plateau in his four seasons with the club.
At the other end of Schweinsteiger's first-team tenure with FC Bayern Munich was one season (2002-03) as a teammate of the man now calling the shots on the Bayern Munich sideline, Niko Kovac. After a successful stint as boss of Eintracht Frankfurt -- which culminated with a DFB Pokal championship defeat of his future employer -- Kovac officially succeeded Jupp Heynckes as Bayern Munich's new manager on July 1, 2018.
Photo Courtesy of USA Today Sports
From the time the German top tier league Bundesliga was launched in 1963, Bayern Munich have captured 27 of the 55 possible first-division championships, including an active run of six straight. The club also hold a record 18 DFB-Pokal Cup titles, 12 more than any other club. Bayern Munich concluded 2017-18 with a 27-4-3 record -- 21 points clear of Schalke 04 -- but came up short of the domestic double when it fell 3-1 to Kovac's Eintracht Frankfurt side in the DFB Pokal Cup final.
After a number of impressive preseason performances, Bayern Munich officially opens its 2018-19 Bundesliga campaign at home Friday vs. Hoffenheim, with the Men In Red awaiting them on Tuesday.