Bastian Schweinsteiger is welcome to join the Germany coaching staff, national team coach Joachim Loew said just hours before the veteran midfielder announced his retirement on Tuesday. "The time has now come and I will be finishing my active career at the end of the season," Schweinsteiger wrote on Twitter. "Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me." The 35-year-old former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder has effectively hung up his boots as his current team Chicago Fire team failed to make the MLS play-offs.
Shortly before Tuesday's announcement on social media by Schweinsteiger, Loew said the midfielder could join his staff. "We will always have a place for him," said Loew in Dortmund where Germany are preparing to host Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday. "I don't know what his plans are," he said, adding "any player who has ever played in the national team, and has the goal of being a coach, is always welcome here to get a taste of what it's like."
Schweinsteiger's former national team-mate Miroslav Klose was briefly part of Loew's coaching staff, as a forwards coach, until last year's World Cup. Schweinsteiger retired from the national team in 2016 after making 121 appearances. Loew heaped praise on Schweinsteiger, who helped inspire a 1-0 extra-time victory over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final despite a cut under his right eye.
"Everyone has a picture of him in their heads: blood-stained in the Maracana (in the 2014 World Cup final), he got up again and again and gave everything. "He is one of the greatest players in German history," enthused Loew. "You could always feel his will to win. He was a great player and a great personality."
Germany are set to hand out several debuts with Joachim Loew missing a host of first-choice names for Wednesday's friendly against an Argentina without Lionel Messi. Like the Germans, Argentina must do without some big names in Dortmund, where only two thirds of tickets have been sold for the friendly. The match is a repeat of the 2014 World Cup final, but Argentina's Manchester United defender
Marcos Rojo is set to be the only survivor. Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero have been left out of the Argentina squad while playmaker and captain Messi is suspended. The 32-year-old superstar is serving a three-month ban after accusing governing body CONMEBOL of "corruption" at the Copa America, where his team finished third. The German camp has been forced into a reshuffle with 13 players dropping out for illness or injury. "It will be difficult to expect great things when it comes to the line-up, but you can expect seriousness and commitment," assured Loew. Loew admitted wanting to use the Argentina match to test out combinations with an eye on Euro 2020, "but we won't be able to do that now".
Key midfielders Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan are both injured, while a knee knock means there is a question mark over Dortmund captain Marco Reus. As a result, Loew has called up defender Robin Koch from Freiburg and midfielder Sebastian Rudy, who played a key role in Hoffenhiem's shock win at Bayern Munich on Saturday.
With defenders Matthias Ginter, out with a shoulder injury, and Jonathan Tah, who has a cold, also missing, Loew will test new players. Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark will start, as will Freiburg forward Luca Waldschmidt, in for first-choice striker Timo Werner, who has a cold.
On the bench
There will be much attention on Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who will start with German captain Manuel Neuer on the bench. Loew has said Neuer will return for Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier at minnows Estonia, but there are calls for Ter Stegen, 27, to usurp Neuer, 33, as first choice. "I don't feel under any more pressure than usual," said Ter Stegen in Dortmund. "I want to do my best, as always, just like everyone else in the team. I think that despite the withdrawals, we're still bringing a lot of quality."
In the Argentinian camp, coach Lionel Scaloni will be without River Plate and Boca Juniors players involved in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadore. Rising talents Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Matias Vargas (Espanyol Barcelona) and Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) are set to get their chance. Experience will come from Man City's Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Angel Correa of Atletico Madrid or Paulo Dybala of Juventus.