Fire

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

Eric Gehrig had a turn off your notifications moment on his phone last night.

The Chicago Fire assistant coach took a photo of Bastian Schweinsteiger taking a photo in the Toronto airport and it went wild on twitter.

Gehrig told the story over the phone of how Schweinsteiger, the most famous player on the team, ended up taking the photo instead of being in the photo.

The woman in the photo was on the plane to Toronto with the Fire and spotted the team with their team gear on.

"She said that her son is a huge soccer fan so she was all upset that he wasn't there and she passed out a piece of paper and we all signed a piece of paper for her," Gehrig said. "We got off the plane so she was like 'I got some time, I'm sure he'd love a picture.' She happened to say it right in the same vicinity as Basti and the guys. She said 'Yeah, let's take a picture.' It was half her looking at Basti, half Basti is like 'Sure, I'll take it.' I just thought it was so funny the magnitude of taking the picture. Obviously she had no idea and I thought it was hilarious and it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up to get my camera out."

Gehrig admitted he never thought the photo, which features forward Michael de Leeuw, goalkeeper coach Aleksandar Saric, goalkeeper Jorge Bava and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, would blow up like it did.

"It has been nuts," Gehrig said. "Obviously that's the first time he's probably taken a picture like that, but my gosh."

Schweinsteiger, who is prepping for his first game away from Toyota Park with the Fire, finally got in front of the camera in Toronto, posting this picture Friday morning:

Schweinsteiger was nice enough to take the photo, but the rest of the team had a good chuckle over the German being on the other side of the camera for once.

"It was hilarious and Basti obviously, I'm sure he's enjoying the different roles and being here," Gehrig said. "She's obviously so nice with taking the picture and was all into it. It speaks volumes of him obviously and I just thought it was a unique, funny situation and I thought it would be cool to share it with the world."

As Fire near playoffs, Bastian Schweinsteiger's immediate and long-term futures are in question

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USA TODAY

As Fire near playoffs, Bastian Schweinsteiger's immediate and long-term futures are in question

Bastian Schweinsteiger has delivered on the promise of a big name star since joining the Fire in late March. He has produced on the field, drawn lots of attention to the club, the team has won enough to get into its first postseason since 2012 and, until recently, he stayed healthy.

However, the 33-year-old German has played 19 minutes in the previous six matches and told reporters on Wednesday that he will not play in the regular season finale in Houston on Sunday. He missed four straight matches with a calf injury before returning against New York City FC on Sept. 30 for a substitute appearance.

Schweinsteiger left practice early with what appeared to be a reaggravation of the injury on Oct. 4 and now it is known that will cost him at least two games. With the playoff picture still in flux (the Fire can finish anywhere from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference), the Fire could potentially face a three-day turnaround and travel after the Houston game or could have a first-round bye. Keeping Schweinsteiger fresher for that crunch of games could end up being a good thing, but it also runs the risk of his match fitness not being at 100 percent for the postseason.

Beyond the postseason, Schweinsteiger dropped this tease of a nugget to the Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz just an hour before Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez spoke with reporters for almost an hour at Toyota Park.

Schweinsteiger, who was not at training, was autographing memorabilia in the form of soccer balls, posters and jerseys. Chicago Red Stars fans may get a kick out of the fact that Schweinsteiger was wearing a Red Stars hoodie.

Initially, the club said Schweinsteiger signed a one-year contract with a mutual option. Later in the day, when asked about Schweinsteiger's future, Rodriguez said the mutual option doesn't have a set number attached to it.

"That would require a negotiation," Rodriguez said. "It was mutual in a sense of we didn’t want either party to feel bound without having had the year of experience to draw on. From our perspective, our experience has been extraordinarily positive with Bastian. We think he’s delivered across all of our expectations and we hope that we have delivered against his expectations.”

So in essence, there is no mutual option. Schweinsteiger and the Fire have to come to terms again on a deal for the German to return in 2018. That's not to say Schweinsteiger can't come back, but there's nothing in writing that binds the two together for next season.

Rodriguez said talks have only begun in the very preliminary stages at this point.

“The most that Basti and I have done is, both said, hey this has gone pretty well." Rodriguez said. "You like it. I like it... So I think we want to remain with our original plan. It was to look to have the hard discussions at the end of the season. My view is in-season negotiations always prove to be a distraction, whether to the player or to me. There can be a team element if it becomes public.

"I don’t want to speak for Basti, but from what we’ve gleaned and what he shared with us, he and (wife) Ana (Ivanovic) are very comfortable in the city. They love it. I think he’s really enjoyed the locker room, the guys, the support of the fans. I think he’s really taken to the challenge of Major League Soccer. I think the signs are positive, but again we would prefer to have the season close before finalizing anything.”

Special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast: What’s wrong with U.S. Soccer?

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AP

Special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast: What’s wrong with U.S. Soccer?

It's a special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast!

Dan Santaromita, Justin O’Neil, JJ Stankevitz and Tom Cooper try to answer all the questions that surfaced after the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup. What went wrong in qualifying, who was at fault, what can be fixed, will things get better? Has any American soccer fan calmed down even a week after? The four on the panel sure still are plenty fired up.