Stockholm: Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger earned his 100th cap in their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday, joining an exclusive club of German footballers.
The 29-year-old holding midfielder, described by Germany coach Joachim Loew as the team`s "brain", won his first cap in 2004 as part of a "wild youngsters" generation along with fellow centurions Philipp Lahm and Lukas Podolski.
He has since notched 23 goals for Germany and on Tuesday became the 10th German to rack up at least a century of internationals - joining the likes of Lothar Matthaeus (150 caps), Franz Beckenbauer and Juergen Klinsmann.
"Dear Basti, I am happy to be able to respond to your special congratulations to my 100th cap just a few weeks later with the same level of respect and with a genuine, written `God bless you!`," Germany captain Lahm wrote in Bild newspaper on Tuesday.
"A World Cup title would of course be the ideal fit? Let us go after this goal together, starting with a win against Sweden this evening."
Having moved from the flank into his favoured holding midfield position some four years ago, the Bayern Munich man has matured into a natural leader for club and country, helping Germany book their spot at next year`s World Cup in Brazil.
Now sporting a greying temple instead of his once trademark bleached spiky hair, Schweinsteiger looks to have fully recovered from ankle surgery in the summer that saw him miss the start of the season.
With three-time winners Germany through to their 16th consecutive World Cup -- a feat equalled only by Brazil -- Schweinsteiger could not have hoped for a bigger stage in his third attempt for the World crown.