How is Bastian Schweinsteiger faring in the MLS with Chicago Fire?

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 01:  Bastian Schweinsteiger #31 of Chicago Fire waves to the crowd after the Chicago Fire drew 2-2 agianst the Montreal Impact at To
Image: Bastian Schweinsteiger has won six of his 10 MLS games with Chicago Fire

Following his March move to Chicago Fire from Manchester United, we look at how Bastian Schweinsteiger is faring stateside.

Schweinsteiger's 20-month spell at United came to an end in late March, with the German World Cup winner having made just four appearances for the club in the 2016/17 season.

The Fire came calling for Schweinsteiger, and the club made the 32-year-old one of the 10 highest-paid players in the MLS after offering him a one-year contract worth £70,000-a-week.

With the MLS continuing to be shown on Sky Sports this summer, here's an in-depth look at Schweinsteiger's season so far…

Schweinsteiger stats

Fire for the World Cup?

There was an awkward moment in Schweinsteiger's introductory press conference, with the German bizarrely asked if he could help his new club win the World Cup.

Schweinsteiger was lost for words when a journalist asked whether his arrival would help Chicago mount a serious "World Cup" challenge.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was wrong-footed by a question from a journalist as he was introduced as Chicago Fire's new signing

A bemused Schweinsteiger burst out laughing after seeking clarification from head coach Veljko Paunovic, but it was a testament to his character that he did not berate the journalist in question.

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The club took it in good jest, tweeting out this 'Road to Russia' picture shortly after…

Debut to remember

On the pitch, it was the perfect start for Schweinsteiger. The midfielder scored just 17 minutes into his MLS debut during a 2-2 draw at home to Montreal Impact.

Schweinsteiger also completed 90 minutes in that game. The previous time he had played a whole match was against Wigan in the EFL Cup on January 29.

And following a 1-0 victory over Columbus Crew, Schweinsteiger netted the opening goal in Chicago's 3-0 win at home to New England Revolution.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scores just 17 minutes into his Chicago Fire debut

Trouble on the road

Schweinsteiger has failed to score since the game with Revolution, and Chicago stumbled away from home with a 2-1 defeat at NY Red Bulls coming after a 3-1 loss at Toronto FC.

Chicago managed to stop the rot, however, thanks to a 2-2 draw at LA Galaxy.

It was perhaps this run of three games without a win which led Schweinsteiger to admit that there is a "huge" difference in quality between Chicago and his trophy-laden 17-year spell with Bayern Munich.

"We all know that this league is just not like the Premier League or the Bundesliga," Schweinsteiger told Suddeutsche Zeitung - speaking on May 9, two days after the LA Galaxy draw.

"And, of course, it can be frustrating on the pitch at times when things discussed [in the team meeting] are not implemented or when somebody loses a ball or just does not have an eye for the teammate.

"I don't blame anyone for it, that's my problem - I need to adapt to the league and cope with those situations.

"If you compare it to Bayern Munich or the [Germany] national team, the difference is huge. But I knew what I let myself in for."
Bastian Schweinsteiger

"The league is interesting because it's evident everyone can beat everyone. And sometimes things happen you just don't understand. This might be referee decisions or the running paths or passes of a teammate. It's different than in Europe, but you have to take things as they are."

Back to winning ways

Schweinsteiger has continued to start under Paunovic - he has done so in each league game since joining - and Chicago soon returned to form with a resounding 4-1 win over reigning champions Seattle Sounders.

Huge crowds gathered at Chicago airport to welcome the former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger after completing his move to MLS

A 3-0 victory over Colorado Rapids followed, while Chicago finally picked up their first away victory of the season with a narrow 1-0 defeat of DC United.

A recent 2-1 victory over FC Dallas leaves Chicago second in the Eastern Conference going into the weekend's action, with Schweinsteiger and co travelling to Orlando City on Monday.

What the stats say

Ten games into Schweinsteiger's Chicago career, have the German at an overall rating of 7.30 - which places him joint 13th among MLS players this season.

Only four players in the league have made more passes per game than Schweinsteiger (69.4), while a passing accuracy of 84.6 per cent - enough to place him in the top 50 - shows the midfielder is not waning.

The Chicago Fire Introduce Basitan Schweinsteiger
Image: Schweinsteiger became one of the 10 highest-paid players in the MLS after signing a one-year contract worth £70,000-a-week

The fact that only three players distribute more long balls per game than Schweinsteiger (8.2) proves that he is looking to dictate play from further back.

Indeed, Chicago have predominantly operated in a 4-3-3 formation this season, with Schweinsteiger playing in front of the back four, alongside Dax McCarty, with Michael de Leeuw further up field.

The regular season is still five months from its completion, but Chicago will be harbouring ambitions of reaching a first MLS Cup final since 2003.

With Schweinsteiger there to anchor the side, no one is ruling them out.

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