One of Bayern‘s most famous players is Arjen Robben. People say he is amazing. He is that good. What interests me, though, is not so much his performance, as the ways in which people mentally construct his contribution to the team’s success. When Bayern wins a game, it is Robben’s achievement. When they lose, it is more of “it is not Robben’s fault”s. Some say that he should lead Bayern instead of a kid whom everyone continues to view as a kid. The kid? you may ask. Philipp Lahm, that is.
Some fans out there think so. After the defeat by Hannover 96, the cries “Off with his head!”, figuratively speaking of course, could be seen in commentary sections of a few news articles.
Here are a couple of them:
1. “Erste Handlung des neuen Trainer:
Lahm als Kapitän absetzten !
Ich bin so stinkig auf ihn, der verdient äh bekommt 9.000.000 Euro pro Jahr und kann nicht EINE gescheite Flanke schlagen […]” (the comment).
First move of a new coach: get rid of Lahm as captain! I’m so pissed off at him who earns 9 million euros a year and cannot even do (kick) one right cross (my translation).
2. “Lahm ist als Kapitän total überfordert und ist ausserdem meilenweit von seiner früheren Form entfernt.” (the comment)
Lahm, as captain, is absolutely overwhelmed and isn’t close to being in his previous shape.(my translation)
Pardon me, but this is just absurd! Where were you when Bayern won against Inter? Where were you when they won again Mainz? Just to name a few. Should I remind you that Lahm was leading the team at that moment? Perhaps, it would be beneficial to watch the previous two games to see what Lahm did, to refresh the memory. Oh, and as to the question of money, does not Bastian get a lot of money, too? Yet, he has messed up on more than one occasion, and nobody worries about that. In addition, is there anyone in Bayern who is not overwhelmed at the moment? Have you seen the faces of players, or Uli Hoeness? Bayern, as a team, is overwhelmed. Should we be really talking about Lahm’s shape based on what he has done for the team in the past three games? Really.
When the team got back to Munich, the only people who did not immediately go home and went up straight to the office were Christian Nerlinger, the team manager, and Philipp Lahm. It is rumored that Nerlinger has expressed his wish of talking to Lahm to discuss the team’s opinion of Louis van Gaal. I cannot even imagine what kind of meeting that was, in case the rumors are true. It is a huge responsibility that Lahm has, but that’s Lahm. It can’t be otherwise. The fact of the matter is that whatever solution Lahm has proposed, whatever opinion he has expressed on behalf of the team, the public will criticize it. At least there will be certain who, I am sure, won’t like it.
It is rumored that the discussion continued for about twenty minutes. The outcome? We will have to wait and see.
Going back to my introduction for this post, there are questions that I cannot find an answer to. For the most part, nobody complains about Lahm’s captaincy if Bayern wins. For the most part, nobody pays attention to what Lahm did to contribute to Bayern’s victory if they win. As the previous two games have indicated, nobody paid a lot of attention to the fact that Lahm was one of the few players, if not the only one, who had tried to save the game. Quite often some of Bayern‘s fans out there forget that the players can do only so much, that there is a lack of participation on the part of van Gaal. The lack of any involvement whatsoever! There is a lack of strategy. Finally, there are ten players on the field, excluding the goalkeeper. Then how come it is Lahm’s fault? Oh, yes, I hear you. He is the captain. Should he play for the three other defenders too? Should he score goals when Mario Gomez is simply standing there, waiting for the ball to come to him? Should he help, being a right fullback, Ribéry (on the left) to fight for the ball so the latter wouldn’t lose it? Get a clue, my dearest fans! Get real. Here is a newsflash: Lahm is A PERSON. Surprisingly enough, A HUMAN. Bayern is mentally, and most importantly, strategically in a huge mess. It takes more than Lahm’s opinion and performance to save the day.