Lahm’s Role Model And Lahm: Klaus Augenthaler’s Interviews

While writing about Lahm’s interview to the the other day, I remembered that back in February Augenthaler, whom Lahm mentions as one of his role models, was interviewed on the subject. Lahm had mentioned him even before then, and the media thought it would be interesting to get Augenthaler’s point of view. (I though the idea was neat.) I remember the first time I read the interviews, thinking, “It does not seem like Lahm’s role model is supportive of Lahm.” Not that he should be, of course, but I was somewhat unimpressed. Some time has passed since then, and the interviews do not seem that bad. I have chosen only passages pertaining to the captaincy since, to a certain extent, that was the main idea of the previous post.

The first interview was conducted by Andreas Werner on February 3rd.

– Beckenbauer, Breitner, Augenthaler, Matthäus, Effenberg, Kahn etc. – does Lahm fit into the category of these big names?

Augenthaler: Yes, I think so. The rumors about his [possible] transfer overseas are silent, he has now extended his contract – he said to himself: Ok, I am going to spend my career in Munich. Philipp thinks “red and white”, he grows sheer in this role. And he says his opinion – this is not someone who wears the armband lightly.

Here we go again, the Big Names and Lahm.


– What makes a good captain?

Augenthaler: I remember once Pal Csernai completely dissed me after a match in Leverkusen. He publicly blamed me for all three goals [we had] conceded, he trashed me. At that time, Paul Breitner was the captain. Starting right at the airport and all the way home, he was building me up [my note: he was comforting him, supporting him]. The experience influenced me then, [seeing] how a person as captain must have an intuition and can have an impact on his colleagues. I always saw how the newbies, especially the foreigners, quickly [began to feel] felt comfortable. To this day I still have a good relationship with Mihajlovic and McInally, who were not having it easy at the time.


– Is it a problem that Lahm, as a full-back, does not have a role in the center on the pitch?

Augenthaler: No. Paul Breitner was also a full-back at the time. Of course, it helps when you have more possibilities for engaging in the midfield. But you can also lead by [character] example.

(my translation)

“He says his opinion” seems like a popular phrase when describing Lahm. I am not sure why back in February I did not pay attention to what Augenthaler had to say about a relationship between holding a central position in midfield and being a captain. Re-reading it now, I am glad he mentions that it is possible to lead without being a midfielder. At least somebody is not fixated on the “midfielder equals captain” idea. I am also not sure why I was not interested in his idea of a captain’s intuition. It certainly is a very interesting point. Augenthaler does not say a captain has to be a people’s person [read: outgoing]. (Not that it is bad if he is, of course.) But he should have an inner sense of what another person feels and be able to find the right words. In my opinion, it is a much more delicate matter than giving a speech before the game. In its turn, that reminds me of a “post-Inter” picture when Lahm supported Mario Gomez.

As to the second interview , it was conducted by Björn Wannhoff on February 10th.

The interviewer lets Augenthaler know that he is a role model for Lahm. In his turn, Augenthaler expresses his gratitude for the fact that someone remembers him. When talking about leadership, he points out that “if necessary, a man should bring an opponent down or have a go at his teammate.”

– Do you think Lahm can do that? He is, indeed, a rather quiet fellow.

Augenthaler: Sometimes he appears to be so. I know him too little, but I would say that, perhaps, he is too addicted to harmony. Of course, everyone prefers his peace and quiet. But one has his peace only when he is successful. Hence, one should already start that while training. If one sees there is someone who is arrogant, he should intervene. During a game, it is always too late.

Some of us may not let it show right away that we are angry and then, in private, throw a fit of such proportions that next time everyone will remember it before doing something. Yet, some of us just give a look, without saying anything, or we do say something but calmly, in such a tone of our voice that lets an interlocutor know:  he/she is in big trouble. It is not necessary to have a go at a teammate to get one’s point across. (By the way, I have seen Lahm scream at his teammates during a game.) I do not see a problem with wanting to have a team that functions well together, orients itself toward the harmony, and does not consist of drama kings.

– Was not Mark van Bommel exactly that type of a player?

Augenthaler: One should not compare Mark van Bommel with Lahm. Of the two, my style certainly resembled that of van Bommel. When it is necessary, [I] prefer[ed] to get a yellow card. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that Philipp is too well-behaved or too good (laughs). But I firmly believe that a person as captain should sometimes play dirty. For me, there was no compromise.

(my translation)

 A different personality, hence a different style. But, just like in February, I get a sense of ridicule when I read about “well-behaved or too good” Lahm. I know it is all good humor, and I do not think it is offensive. However, I often notice that it has this subtext of “oh, silly”. Should everyone be a jerk? Also, I do not quite follow Augenthaler’s logic here with regard to playing dirty. I think every football player has done it at least once in their careers because they were desperate, which is never a good thing. It is not reserved for a captain only, so I do not see why a captain should do it. Moreover, I believe there is a difference between playing dirty when one is desperate, e.g. did not get to an opponent in time, and playing dirty on purpose. which includes provoking, making an opponent get a yellow card. (It is no secret that Mark van Bommel belongs to the second category.) If Augenthaler thinks that is alright, it is his prerogative. After all, it is an individual decision.

Granted, the interviews are far from stirring, but it was interesting to discover what Lahm’s role model thinks about Lahm himself.



  1. i am glad that it doesnt have to be midfielders to be a captain, defenders also can. people are fixated on this idea of an armband belongs to a midfielder only. i think that’s why defenders are so underrated.

    1. Me too, I’m glad =)) Sometimes I think that those who are fixated on the “midfielder equals captain” idea forget that there are goalkeepers who are captains. But it seems that a goalkeeper, who is a captain, does not bother anyone =)

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