After 15 years of top-flight football, Philipp Lahm is ready to hang up his boots at season’s end, having won every major honour with Bayern Munich, multiple times.
“More than a year ago I started checking and questioning myself from day to day and week to week,” commented the full-back. “I’m certain I’ll maintain peak form through to the end of the season. I can manage that until the end of the campaign, but not beyond it.”
In regards to his future role at the club which may lie as part of the management team, Philipp Lahm stressed he does not feel now is the ‘right time’ for this step. But considering the time he has spent with Bayern Munich it has allowed both parties to cultivate a close relationship, which wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him take up some form of a role at the Allianz Arena at a future date.
“There were talks, and in the end I decided it’s not the right time for me to take up a new position at FC Bayern,” said the player, who has recently recorded a benchmark after making his 501st appearance for the club. The 33-year-old is eighth on the list of the all-time appearances for the Bavarian side, and before he retires he could surpass the legendary Bernd Durnberger who is ahead of him with 505 outings.
Philipp Lahm first plied his trade with Bayern Munch II – the reserve team – that plays in the lower divisions on the German football pyramid. His talent was obvious from the start, however after only being selected to play once for the senior side in November 2002, he was sent out on a two-year loan with Stuttgart where he was a regular starter, making 71 appearances between 2003 and 2005.
He returned to Bayern ahead of the 2005/06 campaign with a cruciate ligament injury that he suffered during his second season with Stuttgart, but after a rehabilitation process, Philipp Lahm nonetheless made 20 appearances in the league and 27 overall that season. That season also saw the full-back taste his first success, as Bayern were able to secure a domestic double of Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal titles.
Despite reservations about his injury, then Germany boss Jurgen Klinsmann still decided to select him as a starter for the 2006 World Cup, which was held in their home nation. Germany finished third in the tournament, which saw Philipp Lahm collect his first medal (bronze) with the national side.
The following season, Bayern failed to defend their Bundesliga title, as Philipp Lahm’s former side Stuttgart took away the league plaque, but the full-back got his hands on some silverware at least that year, with the last edition of the short-lived DFL-Ligapokal going to Bayern in 2007.
Die Roten clinched their fourth European title in 2001, after defeating Valencia at San Siro, however they would have to wait more than a decade after that to see the coveted trophy return to Munich for the fifth time. At one point it seemed that Bayern’s Champions League efforts were cursed, considering they lost two finals in the span of three seasons; first to Inter Milan in 2010 at the Bernabeu and then a shock defeat to Chelsea on penalties in 2012 – a final that was played on their own ground, the Allianz Arena.
As the saying goes, ‘third time’s a charm,’ as Bayern were finally able to lift their long-awaited fifth European crown the following season, when they defeated domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in front of 90.000 spectators. Until that point, a Champions League medal was the only thing missing from Philipp Lahm’s trophy cabinet in terms of club level success, considering he has won everything else with Bayern.
Three years prior to Bayern’s glorious night at Wembley, Germany failed to qualify for the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as they once again had to settle for the bronze medal. However, merely a year after collecting a Champions League medal, Philipp Lahm would go on to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with Die Mannschaft to finally being an end to third-place finishes with the national side. Shortly after sealing football’s biggest trophy, Philipp Lahm announced his retirement from international football, having recorded 123 caps between 2004 and 2014, thus putting him fifth on the all-time appearances list for the German national side.
When he retires at the end of the current campaign, Philipp Lahm will be hailed as one of the best players in his position, but will also go down as one of the most decorated football stars of all time. In total, he was won seven Bundesliga titles (2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16), six DFB-Pokal crows (2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16), one DFL-Ligapokal (2007), three DFL-Supercups (2010, 2012 and 2016), one Champions League crown (2012/13), one UEFA Super Cup (2013) and one FIFA Club World Cup (2013).
Bayern are on course to seal yet another Bundesliga title this season, which would be their sixth-straight league crown and Philipp Lahm’s eighth domestic league triumph. They’re currently sitting atop the table with a small 4-point lead over second-placed RB Leipzig who are on 42 points at the moment.
It would be a fairy tale send-off to Philipp Lahm if Bayern were to win both of the trophies in his last campaign at the Allianz Arena, but we’re pretty sure he’d be happy with them solely clinching the Bundesliga plaque.
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