Tonight's Euro 2012 semi-final between Germany and Italy is a showdown of two of the games great pass masters. Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger are conductors in the middle of their teams, two midfielders who dictate play and who are both having an impressive tournament. So who will reign victorious – Pirlo or Schweinsteiger?
The stats below show the passes made by each midfielder in their respective quarter-final games, with blue indicating a successful pass and red unsuccessful. In the space of 120 minutes against England Pirlo made 131 passes compared to 118 by Schweinsteiger against Greece, evidence that both players sit at the heart of their team and orchestrate play...
Andrea Pirlo was in devastating form against England running the show for Italy, and as the pitch overview shows Pirlo is an attacking threat looking to play the killer ball. Schweinsteiger has developed into a more deep-lying role, and despite being less of an attacking threat prefers to initiate attacks through the likes of Ozil and Muller.
Both Pirlo and Schweinsteiger average over 90 touches per game, and while Schweinsteiger has a higher pass completion rate, Pirlo has created more goalscoring chances. Both imperious in possession, you feel something is going to have to give in the semi-final clash, with one player being crowned pass master and leading his team to victory.
Interestingly, as midfield play-makers both Pirlo and Schweinsteiger opt for touch football boots, with Pirlo wearing Nike Tiempo's and Schweinsteiger in his preferred adiPure III's. Both players clearly prefer the fit and natural touch a leather upper offers, and choose classy subtle colourways.
In the battle of pass masters which player will come out on top, will it be Pirlo or Schweinsteiger who orchestrates their team to victory? The statistics suggest the midfielders are evenly matched, so let us know who you think will win? Have your say and join the conversation online, on Twitter and on Facebook.