Growth Type: Standard/Lasting
Club: FC Bayern München
Growth Type: Standard/Lasting
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- Philipp Lahm is a German footballer who plays for and captains both Bayern Munich and the Germany national football team.
Lahm is considered one of the best full backs in the world, 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 FIFA Team of the Year 2008. 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 well known for his pace, dribbling and precise tackling abilities as well as his small stature, giving him the nickname the "Magic Dwarf".
Lahm developed into a professional football player within the Bayern Munich Junior Team. 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. 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."
He twice won the Bundesliga youth title, the second time as captain of his team, and then was introduced into the amateur side at the age of 17. His former amateur coach Hermann Gerland considers Lahm to be the most talented player he has ever coached and made him the captain of the amateur team during his second season. Up to this point Lahm played as a defensive midfielder, right midfielder or right full-back. Since Willy Sagnol was playing as right back, Bixente Lizarazu was the main left back for Bayern Munich, and their midfield was also well-staffed, Lahm was loaned to VfB Stuttgart for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 Bundesliga seasons.
VfB Stuttgart (loan)
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. 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. His first professional start as a left back he played 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. Lahm's first Champions League appearance in the previous season with Bayern Munich as a late substitute against RC Lens was now followed by his first Champions League game in the starting line-up on 29 September 2003, against Manchester United. During the 2003–04 season Lahm eventually appeared for Stuttgart in 31 Bundesliga and seven Champions League matches and came second in the election for the German footballer of the year.
During the second season in Stuttgart (2004–2005) Lahm had substantially more difficult time. 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. 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 (17 May 2005) he was injured again, this time suffering a torn cruciate ligament which ended his season and simultaneously his career in Stuttgart.
In July 2005, Lahm returned to Bayern Munich. 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 amateur side of Bayern and thereafter making his first professional Bundesliga appearance for Bayern in November 2005 against Arminia Bielefeld. During the season he appeared for Bayern 20 times in Bundesliga and thrice in 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.
Lahm playing for Bayern Munich in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final
For the season 2007–08, 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. However, on 16 May 2008 FC Bayern signed a new contract with Lahm. His new contract kept him in Munich through 20 June 2012.
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 the early season he played one of his best seasons ever, forming an excellent partnership on the right wing with the Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben, scoring one goal and giving 12 assists in all of his games. 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 German Cup.
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.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.
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. After the departure of captain Mark van Bommel in January 2011, Lahm was made the new captain for the remainder of the season and eventually named club captain.
At the end of the 2012-2013 season he lifted the Uefa Champions League Cup, as the Clubs captain, and was part of the League/Cup/CL treble.
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