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FOOTBALL

Lahm plays captain, but Schweinsteiger becomes boss

Germany coach Joachim Löw may have selected Philipp Lahm as skipper for the World Cup in place of the injured Michael Ballack, but the real 'boss' of the German team is arguably Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Lahm plays captain, but Schweinsteiger becomes boss
Photo: DPA

In recent months Schweinsteiger, who starred alongside Lukas Podolski on home soil in Germany’s run to the semis in 2006, has thrown off the reputation he once had of being of a immature. Since those heady days the pair have gone different ways at club level.

Whereas Podolski was unable to hold down a first team spot at Bayern Munich and left to return home to former side Cologne saying he “just wanted to be happy on the pitch” Schweinsteiger has in contrast gone from strength to strength at Bayern.

Gone are the constant changes of image – the different hair cuts and the gaudy clothes, as well as the black-painted fingernails. And he no longer is tempted by extra-curricular activities such as the time he memorably starred in an advert for a poultry firm in which he imitated a chicken.

That kind of thing does not impress Bayern’s tough Dutch coach Louis van Gaal and under his tutelage Schweinsteiger last season buckled down to become a mainstay of the Bayern midfield. It was a move of position which he said came at “a very important stage of

my career and in my personal development.”

Having outgrown the nickname “Schweini,” he promptly turned in the best season of his career and was rewarded with the league title and German Cup as well as a run to the Champions League final where Inter Milan proved too strong.

Schweinsteiger is now being called to take on more responsibility by Löw in the absence of Ballack in a German side which Lahm has judged as the best one he has been involved with and which has an average age of just 25. He is now one of the comparative veterans with his 74 caps and 21 goals scored.

He hopes that one day he can have a tilt at the 150 caps national appearance record held by 1990 World Cup winning skipper Lothar Matthäus.

“I want to take on more responsibility in this team – I shall demand more of the ball and try to influence our game to a greater extent,” he told reporters as Germany prepared to start their World Cup campaign against Australia.

The confidence that Van Gaal has instilled in him means he is now hoping to lead by example as Germany raise a new generation with the likes of Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber bursting through.

Schweinsteiger said: “We can feel that these young players are hungry and have confidence in themselves. They believe they are capable of great things. “If we combine that with our experience we can really achieve something good.”

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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