Philipp Lahm

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Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm, Germany national football team (04).jpg
Lahm in 2011
Personal information
Full name Philipp Lahm[1]
Date of birth (1983-11-11) 11 November 1983 (age 30)
Place of birth Munich, West Germany
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[2]
Playing position Full back / Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Bayern Munich
Number 21
Youth career
1989–1995 FT Gern München
1995–2001 Bayern Munich
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2003 Bayern Munich II 63 (3)
2002– Bayern Munich 260 (8)
2003–2005 VfB Stuttgart (loan) 53 (2)
National team
1999 Germany U17 1 (0)
2000 Germany U18 1 (0)
2001–2002 Germany U19 9 (1)
2002–2003 Germany U20 6 (0)
2003 Germany U21 3 (0)
2004–2014 Germany 113 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:43, 3 May 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:11, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Philipp Lahm (German pronunciation: [ˈfɪlɪp ˈlaːm]; born 11 November 1983) is a German professional footballer who plays as a full back or defensive midfielder for Bayern Munich and formerly for the German national team. He is the captain of his club, having skippered them to numerous honours including the 2013 UEFA Champions League as part of the Treble, and he was captain of his national team where he led them to the 2014 FIFA World Cup before retiring from international football.[3][2]

Lahm is considered by many to be the best full back of his generation,[4] and was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010, the UEFA Team of the Tournament in 2008 and 2012 and in the UEFA Team of the Year 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Although Lahm is right-footed, he is able to play on both sides of the pitch. He often cuts from the flank to the inside of the pitch to either shoot or pass. He is renowned for his pace, dribbling and precise tackling abilities as well as his small stature, giving him the nickname the "Magic Dwarf".[5][6]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Lahm developed into a professional football player within the Bayern Munich Junior Team.[2] He joined the team at the age of 11 after a youth coach, Jan Pienta, had scouted him several times while he was playing for the local youth team in his hometown Gern, Munich.[7] He was already considered very talented; one of his coaches, Hermann Hummels, even stated that "If Philipp Lahm will not make it in the Bundesliga, nobody will anymore."[8] He twice won the Bundesliga youth title, the second time as captain of his team,[7] and then was introduced into the B team at the age of 17. His former amateur coach Hermann Gerland considers Lahm to be the most talented player he has ever coached[9] and made him the captain of the B team during his second season. Up to this point Lahm played as a defensive midfielder, right midfielder or right full-back.[10]

On 13 November 2002, Lahm made his debut for the Bayern Munich first team as a 92nd minute substitute in a 3–3 draw with RC Lens in the group stage of the Champions League.[11] However, since Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu were established as Bayern's first choice full-backs, and the club's midfield was also well-staffed, Lahm made no further appearances during the 2002–03 season and was loaned to VfB Stuttgart for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons to gain first team experience in the Bundesliga.

VfB Stuttgart (loan)[edit]

Lahm was originally signed as a back-up for Andreas Hinkel, who played as right back, but coach Felix Magath moved him to the left back position, on which he toppled the German international Heiko Gerber.[12] He made his Bundesliga debut on the first day of the season 2003–04 against Hansa Rostock as he came in as a substitute left back in the 76th minute for midfielder Silvio Meissner. He made his first professional start as a left back on the fourth matchday as a 63rd minute substitute for Gerber and his first game over the full 90 minutes followed on the sixth matchday against Borussia Dortmund. Thereafter he has established himself as a regular left back for Stuttgart.[13] On 29 September 2003, Lahm made his first Champions League appearance as a starter against Manchester United. On 3 April 2004, he scored his first ever Bundesliga goal in a 5–1 away win for Stuttgart against VfL Wolfsburg. During the 2003–04 season Lahm appeared for Stuttgart in 31 Bundesliga and seven Champions League matches overall and came second in the election for the German footballer of the year.

During his second season in Stuttgart, Lahm had substantially more difficult time.[12] After the Euro 2004 tournament and the resulting shorter vacation and pre-season training he had difficulties getting off the ground and also in conforming with the tactics and system of the new coach Matthias Sammer. However, he still made 16 Bundesliga appearances for Stuttgart before the Christmas break, 14 of them over the full 90 minutes, and six appearances in the UEFA Cup.[14] In January 2005, Lahm suffered a stress-fracture on his right foot and was thus sidelined for four months, making his comeback on 9 April 2005, against FC Schalke 04. Only around five weeks later, he was injured again, this time suffering a torn cruciate ligament which ended his season and simultaneously his career in Stuttgart.[7]

Bayern Munich[edit]

In July 2005, Lahm returned to Bayern Munich.[2] However, the torn cruciate ligament he had suffered just before his return forced him to start his professional time in FC Bayern on rehabilitation. He returned to the field at the end of November playing first twice for the B team and thereafter making his first professional Bundesliga appearance for Bayern in November 2005 against Arminia Bielefeld.[15] During the 2005–06 season he appeared for Bayern 20 times in the Bundesliga and thrice in the Champions League, contending over field-time evenly with Bixente Lizarazu.

During the season 2006–07, Lahm played in all of Bayern's 34 Bundesliga games and in nine of the ten Champions League games and was only substituted twice, mainly because he was the only left back in the team but also due to his sufficiently solid performances during a season that was one of the worst for Bayern in many years. On 20 August 2006, in Bayern's first away match of the season, a 2–1 win over VfL Bochum, he scored his first goal for the club.

For the 2007–08 season, Bayern bought the German international left back Marcell Jansen and Lahm was supposed to revert to right, both to accommodate Jansen and to replace French right back Willy Sagnol. Due to injuries (both his and Jansen's) he still mainly ended up playing left for Bayern and remained left for the end of the season, although he uttered his wish to play on right several times during the year 2008. During the whole season there were various rumors suggesting that Lahm would leave Bayern in the summer of 2008 to join FC Barcelona and the transfer seemed to be almost a done deal.[16] However, on 16 May 2008 FC Bayern signed a new contract with Lahm. His new contract kept him in Munich through 20 June 2012.[17]

Lahm had his most prolific goalscoring season in 2008–09, scoring three times in the Bundesliga and once in the DFB-Pokal. However, the season was a poor one for Bayern, leading to the sacking of head coach Jürgen Klinsmann after less than a year in charge.

On 8 November 2009, Lahm was given the highest fine in the history of Bayern Munich to date (estimated to be over €25,000) after giving an unauthorised interview in Süddeutsche Zeitung. He criticised the transfer policy of the club and the lack of game philosophy and strategic planning. Back in May 2008, Lahm had turned down lucrative offers from Manchester United and F.C. Barcelona as club president Uli Hoeness promised to build a team that could challenge in Europe.[18] This incident drew mixed reactions from fans and the media, both local and foreign, with some saying that Lahm should have kept his opinions to himself and others praising him for his honesty.[19] Although he was fined and heavily criticised by the club hierarchy, he kept his place in the Bayern starting line-up and went on to have a good season.

During the 2009–10 season under the new coach Louis van Gaal, Lahm was able to play in his preferred position as a right back. After some difficulties in early games he played one of his best seasons ever, forming an excellent partnership on the right wing with Arjen Robben, scoring one goal and giving 12 assists in all of his games.[20] Lahm was also chosen as vice-captain by Van Gaal, and played full-time in all of Bayern's competitive matches apart from the first round game in the DFB-Pokal. Bayern went on to win the league and cup double and reached the 2010 UEFA Champions League Final, where Lahm played 90 minutes at right-back.

After the departure of captain Mark van Bommel in January 2011, Lahm was made the new captain for the remainder of the 2010–11 season and eventually named club captain.[21]

On 19 May 2012, Lahm captained Bayern in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Chelsea at the Allianz Arena. He scored the team's first penalty in the shootout but Bayern finished as runner-up for the second time in three seasons.[22]

In the 2012–13 season, Lahm captained Bayern to a historic treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League. In the final of the Champions League on 25 May 2013, Lahm helped his side to a 2−1 victory over fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund at historic Wembley Stadium in London.[23] After the game, he revealed how happy he was at winning the title, saying "It's incredible - a huge joy and huge relief. The pressure was enormous after losing in the Champions League final twice."[24]

In the early stages of the 2013–14 season, under new manager Pep Guardiola, Lahm has been utilised as a defensive midfielder.[25][26] from a "right-back-midfield hybrid" at the start of the season that did not last a month.[27] Guardiola said of Lahm: "[He] is perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained in my career. He is at another level."[26] That season brought a new milestone for Lahm and the club, as he captained Bayern to a record 24th Bundesliga title and the earliest league championship in Bundesliga history, retaining the title with seven games to spare, which beat the mark set by the club in the previous season.[28][29]

In June 2014, he signed a new contract keeping him at Bayern until 2018.[30]

International career[edit]

Youth Teams and Euro 2004[edit]

Lahm warming up for Germany in 2006

Lahm started his international career in the U19 national team. He was part of the team that won silver for Germany in the 2002 U19 European championship playing in all games in the final tournament and scoring a crucial goal in the 90th minute (2–3) against England in a game that ended 3–3.[31] Afterwards he played a few U20 and U21 matches for Germany before impressing Rudi Völler enough to hand the youngster his debut on 18 February 2004,[32] at 20 years of age. His first game was a 2–1 win over Croatia, where he played the full 90 minutes and was chosen as the man of the match by German football magazine Kicker.[33] He was also part of Germany's team in UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal and played full 90 minutes in all three games. Although Germany did not make it past the group stage, Lahm's performance was considered very promising and many German papers saw this as the sole positive aspect in Germany's lack of accomplishment in the tournament.

2006 World Cup[edit]

Lahm missed more than a year of international football between January 2005 and March 2006 due to injuries (stress-fracture on foot and a torn cruciate ligament), including the Confed Cup 2005, but after his recovery he immediately made it back to the starting line-up. Even though he injured his elbow in a friendly game right before the 2006 FIFA World Cup and thus had to wear a special cast on his left arm,[34] Jürgen Klinsmann still chose him as first option for the left back position. He scored the first goal in the opening game of the World Cup in Germany against Costa Rica in the sixth minute, cutting inside the area and launching a right foot shot into the top-right corner of the net. He was awarded Man of the Match for his performance in the second group game against Poland. He was also the only German player to play the complete 690 minutes of the World Cup and was also elected to the All Star Team of the tournament.

Euro 2008[edit]

During UEFA Euro 2008 he was in Germany's starting line-up in all games and was only substituted in the final after getting a cut needing stitches on his foot. Lahm started the tournament as a right back but replaced the under-performing Jansen as left back mid way through the second game. On 25 June 2008, he scored the winning goal of the Euro 2008 semi-final against Turkey in the 90th minute. He described this as the most important goal of his career and although he was elected Man of the Match, he himself did not consider this as well-deserved.[35] On 29 June 2008 – in the Euro 2008 final against Spain – on 33 minutes Xavi played a piercing ball through the German defence and a lack of communication between Lahm and German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann allowed Fernando Torres to net the decisive goal in the game; Spain prevailed 1–0 to win its second European Championship title in 44 years.

2010 World Cup[edit]

Lahm warming up for Germany in 2011.
Lahm playing for Germany in 2011.

Lahm was ever present during Germany's 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and was the only player to play every single minute. Following the withdrawal of regular captain Michael Ballack from the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad due to injury, Lahm was chosen to captain the team at the upcoming tournament.[36][37] On 13 June 2010, he captained the German National Team in the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Australia, becoming the youngest player to captain a German side in a World Cup tournament. Lahm's captaincy would later become permanent, when coach Joachim Löw announced Ballack would not be considered to play for Germany anymore.[38][39]

Euro 2012[edit]

Captain Lahm's solid defending helped Germany win all ten qualification matches for UEFA Euro 2012, and he also provided one assist each for Mesut Özil and Mario Gómez. He was an ever-present in the German defence that attracted praise from a variety of sources. Lahm scored the opening goal in their 4–2 victory over Greece in the quarter-finals.

2014 World Cup[edit]

On 6 September 2013, Lahm was awarded his 100th cap for the German national team in a 3–0 win over Austria during qualification for the 2014 World Cup.[40]

On 16 June 2014, Lahm started for Germany in central midfield in their first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a 4–0 defeat of Portugal in Salvador,[41] and remained in the position for the other two group games and the round of 16 match against Algeria.

Lahm reverted to right back for the quarter-final against France, and remained there in Germany's 7–1 defeat of Brazil in the semi-final. On 11 July 2014, Lahm was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA's Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.[42]

On 13 July 2014, Lahm led Germany to a World Cup victory, a 1–0 win against Argentina in the final, the fourth time Germany have won the competition and the first for a reunified Germany.[43] Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer, and Lothar Matthäus had won as West Germany.[44]

On 18 July 2014, Lahm, at the age of 30,[44] announced his retirement from international football.[32][44] He had scored five goals[32] in 113 appearances.[32][44][3]

Personal life[edit]

Lahm was born in Munich, Bavaria. He is married to Claudia.[45] Andreas Ottl was the only footballer invited to the wedding.[45][46] Lahm and Ottl like to snooker and tennis together.[45] In his youth, Lahm was a joker in school. He was considered to be a bright student, and had aspirations to become a baker. Lahm was a ball boy at the Olympic Stadium for Bayern Munich matches.[47]

Lahm is involved in many charity campaigns and events. In June 2007, FIFA announced that Lahm and Owen Hargreaves would visit South Africa in advance to support the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[48] Although Hargreaves never managed to take part in the trip due to injury, Lahm and German national teammate Piotr Trochowski visited the country taking time not only to visit the 2010 FIFA World Cup organizers but also to visit a local SOS Children's Village and to take part in the Kick-AIDS event.[49]

Lahm has established a foundation, Philipp Lahm-Stiftung, to support underprivileged children and is also an official ambassador representing "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages".[50] In addition he was an ambassador of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 World AIDS Day. He has also taken part in a campaign against speeding and various others such as Bündnis für Kinder, a campaign against child abuse.[16][51]

Lahm was awarded a Tolerantia-Preis on 20 September 2008, due to his outstanding contribution against intolerance and homophobia in sports, particularly in football. He also stated that it's a "pity that being gay in football is still a taboo subject" and he would have no problem with a homosexual teammate and is "not afraid of homosexuals".[52] However, Lahm does not advise footballers to publicly admit to being homosexual, because of the abuse they would suffer.[53][54]

Autobiography[edit]

Lahm in 2013

In August 2011 at age 27 he released his autobiography, Der feine Unterschied: Wie man heute Spitzenfußballer wird (The Subtle Difference – How to Become a Top Footballer), reviewing his football career and personal experiences, the general football environment, football in the social context and the effectiveness of different coaching and training methods. The No.1 bestselling book received extensive media attention in Germany, and has been criticized for parts of the book in which he discerningly analyzed his former coaches' work, among the critics were Rudi Völler (himself criticized by Lahm in the book) and Ottmar Hitzfeld.[55]

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance[edit]

As of 17 May 2014

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total Ref.
Club League Season Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFL-Ligapokal Europe Other1 Total
Bayern Munich II Regionalliga Süd 2001–02 27 2 27 2
2002–03 34 1 1 0 35 1
Total 61 3 1 0 62 3
Bayern Munich Bundesliga 2002–03 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 [56]
Total 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
VfB Stuttgart Bundesliga 2003–04 31 1 1 0 1 0 7 0 40 1 [57]
2004–05 22 1 2 0 1 0 6 1 31 2 [58]
Total 53 2 3 0 2 0 13 1 71 3
Bayern Munich Bundesliga 2005–06 20 0 4 0 0 0 3 0 27 0 [59]
Bayern Munich II Regionalliga Süd 2 0 2 0 [59]
Bayern Munich Bundesliga 2006–07 34 1 3 0 2 0 9 0 48 1 [60]
2007–08 22 0 5 0 3 0 10 1 40 1 [61]
2008–09 28 3 3 1 7 0 38 4 [62]
2009–10 34 0 6 1 12 0 52 1 [63]
2010–11 34 3 5 0 8 0 1 0 48 3 [64]
2011–12 31 0 5 0 14 0 50 0 [65]
2012–13 29 0 5 0 12 0 1 0 47 0 [66]
2013–14 28 1 4 0 12 0 2 0 50 1 [67]
Bayern Munich II total 2 0 2 0
Bayern Munich total 260 8 40 2 5 0 87 1 4 0 396 11
Career stats 376 13 45 2 7 0 101 2 4 0 533 17

International goals[edit]

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:

Philipp Lahm: International Goals[68]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 28 April 2004 Stadionul Giulesti, Bucharest, Romania  Romania 1–5 1–5 Friendly
2. 9 June 2006 WM-Stadion München, Munich, Germany  Costa Rica 1–0 4–2 2006 FIFA World Cup
3. 25 June 2008 St. Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland  Turkey 3–2 3–2 UEFA Euro 2008
4. 3 June 2010 Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–1 3–1 Friendly
5. 22 June 2012 PGE Arena Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland  Greece 1–0 4–2 UEFA Euro 2012

Honours[edit]

Lahm was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006, following his outstanding performance in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In 2006, he competed alongside fellow national team-mates Michael Ballack, Miroslav Klose and Jens Lehmann, in the end the award was won by Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro. Lahm was nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year again 2007.

Lahm was chosen as the left back for the UEFA Team of the Year 2006 and came second in the same election next year, losing only by less than 1% of the given votes to the winner Éric Abidal. In 2008, Lahm was again voted as the left back for the UEFA Team of the Year. Lahm has been a candidate for the UEFA Team of the Year in all of his professional years when he has been fit (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and is therefore alongside Michael Ballack the most often nominated German player for the aforementioned team and the second German having been elected more than once.

In 2008, Lahm was also chosen as the left back for the FIFA Team of the Year, winning the election ahead of Manchester United left back Patrice Evra by 2% of the given votes.[69]

Club[edit]

Bayern Munich Junior Team
Bayern Munich[70]

National team[edit]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Michael Ballack
Germany national football team captain
2009–2014
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Mark van Bommel
Bayern Munich captain
2011–
Succeeded by
Incumbent