Player Profile: Philipp Lahm
Lahm is widely recognised as one of world football’s best full-backs and he is a vital member of the German team, whether operating on the left or right side of defense. Having shone at the 2006 World Cup, as well as Euro 2004 and Euro 2008, his extensive experience and attacking impetus are important for the team and Lahm clearly relishes the biggest of stages, making eye-catching contributions at every major finals of his career.
Lahm made a particularly eye-catching contribution at his last World Cup when he scored the opening goal of the tournament with a looping shot against Costa Rica and was the only German player to play all 690 minutes of their campaign. He was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year award six months later. He was also included in the Mastercard All Star Team in 2006 and the UEFA Team of the Tournament in 2008.
He is well known for his pace, dribbling and crossing abilities as well as his small stature. Although Lahm is right-footed, and while he played as a right back as a youth, he has also been played effectively at left back, where his runs with the ball from the left flank and swift cut-ins towards the centre, where he could then shoot with his strong right foot, has been a potent weapon for both Bayern and Germany.
Though a product of the Bayern Munich youth team, Lahm first achieved prominence during two successive loan spells at Stuttgart and made over 50 Bundesliga appearances in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons combined. Returning to Bayern as a regular in the German national side, Lahm soon secured a similar status with his club after overcoming a serious knee injury and replaced French World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu. Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United have all monitored the little full-back but he has remained in Bavaria ever since, winning two Doubles with the club.
Career high: Scoring a late winner in a thrilling 3-2 win over Turkey that took Germany to the final of Euro 2008.
Career low: Suffering cruciate ligament damage in May 2005 while on loan at Stuttgart. He only returned to action in November of the same year.