Looking At Lahm Through The Prism of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Press Conference

Sometimes I feel I am too vulnerable to the media. Or perhaps, it is just because I care. Sometimes I think it is better to write when I just read the article, and sometimes I think I have to distance myself from it in order to calm down before writing.

Today is a friendly against Brazil. It goes without saying that I wish die Mannschaft all the best! I hope they can feel my cheers. But a traditional before-match press conference took place yesterday; consequently, it mattered more than those before it. Usually, Löw is there along with Lahm for obvious reasons. Yesterday it was Bastian who came to the press conference with Löw. Naturally, the question arose in the media: where was Lahm? I have to admit that I had the same question on my mind because situations like that give people something to talk about. Needless to say, I am not very fond of it. I rarely discuss other Bayern players with regard to what they say in the media. But in this case, it is difficult to separate things because the articles I am about to cite here are as much about Lahm as they are about Bastian.

Merkur-online.de published an article in which they discuss the press conference. They do not miss an opportunity to mention Mark van Bommel’s words that Christian Falk and Lahm discussed in the interview to SportBild. (Lahm was right: the media cannot stop bringing up van Bommel’s opinion. It is time to let it go. For real.) Also, the article states:

DFB-Captain, Philipp Lahm, will lead the team on Wednesday against the world champions, Brazil, but the commander on the pitch is the “hidden boss” Bastian Schweinsteiger. “Certainly, I am a link between the attack and defense. It is my job to give commands. Taking Borussia Dortmund as an example, one can see how important it is to play compactly in the midfield.” (my translation)

Well, duh. Bastian is right that it is a midfielder’s function. I wish the media would stop blowing it out of proportion, searching for some secret meaning. They make it seem like Lahm does not do a thing on the field.

With regard to van Bommel’s idea [my explanation: van Bommel says that, in his point of view, Bastian should be the first captain, even though he, i.e. van Bommel, does not mean to say anything bad about Philipp] and Bastian’s reaction, the article states the following:

Schweinsteiger does not want to go that far [my explanation: meaning that he would not go as far in his conclusions as Mark van Bommel], even though it is significant that it is he, and not Lahm, who was [sitting] next to Löw at the final press conference before the match against Brazil. “I conduct myself the way I am, and I expect the same from Philipp. I think there are no problems. In the end, there are many captains who play as full-backs,” said Schweinsteiger who has matured in the last two years. (my translation)

First, excuse me, but what is expected of Philipp? I am honestly confused. As if it was not already happening. Second, thanks to Bastian for pointing out there are full-backs who are captains. I laughed out loud and wanted to add, “You don’t say! Really?!” Finally, the line I have written in orange is exactly the reason why I was not happy in the first place. The media has already assigned a certain meaning to the fact that Lahm was not there, and, naturally, people [read: general public] might question things.

On the other hand, yesterday one of the most famous German newspapers, Der Spiegel, that plays an important role in the German society, published online an article about the same press conference. In fact, some time ago the same author wrote, in my opinion, one of the best articles about Philipp (The DFB-Genscher). In yesterday’s article, which is mainly focused on Bastian, the author points out:

Other professional players, such as Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, might have more captions for Germany than Schweinsteiger – but they are eliminated from the race for the leadership position due to their disposition. Klose is too quiet, Podolski cannot see a bigger picture, in order to be able to shape the game on and off their respective places on the field. Hence, it functions based on dualism Lahm – Schweinsteiger.

“Both enjoy unsolicited respect within the team,” said the head coach, both “think for the team and have solutions ready in difficult situations,” Löw is anxious not to separate two alpha personalities of FC Bayern from one another.

Due to his central position on the field – “I am the link between the defense and attack” – Schweinsteiger  would be predestined for leading the team. Nevertheless, both in the club, as well as in the National Team, fulfills the full-back Lahm this role. There are good reasons for it.

After mentioning two-three episodes from Schweinsteiger’s past [my explanation: an incident with a reporter several months ago, another one on the field in 2008, etc.], the author continues:

One may assume with some certainty that Lahm would have never bared himself in that way in public. The captain prefers to resolve things via conversations away from the public eye. Self-control is among Lahm’s most distinctive traits. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger struggles at press conferences, namely with the diplomatic slang, when he says in the spirit of the DFB, “Everybody has a responsibility on the pitch, not just the captains.”

But he will never master to hide his true emotional state behind words as well as Lahm [does it].

(my translation)

Again, the same stereotype: “a midfielder equals captain” formula, hence the word “predestined” seems to be too much, in my opinion. What bothers me is the following: from reading it for the first itme, I got an impression that Lahm’s value comes down to being good in speaking. Surely that is not the only reason to single him out! C’mon! Even though Ahrens’ previous article (The DFB-Genscher) mentioned Lahm’s verbal talents, it also emphasized his other qualities. I am psyched about Lahm’s ability to communicate as much as the next person. (I am not kidding. Not a bit.) However, it would have been nice not to concentrate on the verbal aspect that much this time around, although I guess that was the point of comparison between the two. (I have to say, though, there is some consistency to what Ahrens writes about Lahm, and that makes me quite happy.) What also makes me happy is the fact that the article alludes to Lahm’s ability to shape the game. (A little note to those who still have doubts!)

And Klose is too quiet?! That made me laugh because I thought it has been considered Lahm’s prerogative. (A bit of sarcasm here.)

With regard to what Löw says, I remember him phrasing it a bit (quite?) differently last year. I am just throwing it out there…

Overall, I believe Ahrens’ article is pretty good. Nicely written.

As a final remark, can people just support Lahm and his team like their support other captain and teams? Cannot they give the K-Frage a rest? For real.

Auf geht’s, die Jungs!

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2 comments

  1. hi. i must admit that as a big fan of lahm, i am always keeping myself updated to read your posts. you really have entertained me with your latest stories of lahm. keep it up..:)

    first, i wanna say, it disappoints me when i heard that lahm wasn’t there in the press conference. where was he? and i believe the reporters will make some speculations about it and try to make up stories that would be untrue.

    second, i am in a state of confusion when reading the line that you wrote in orange. it scares the hell out of me as i believe that it is yet provocative that can bring questions among people out there. as a fan of lahm, i am certainly not happy about it.

    third, i want to thank basti for pointing out that there are fullbacks who are captains.. :)

    fourth, even though sometimes i get annoyed by people who address basti as ‘THE CAPTAIN’ instead of lahm, i can’t resist that i actually love them both. i love how they work together on/off the pitch. it is just that i want people to recognize lahm as the fist captain, not basti.

    fifth, my wishes go to the team. i want to wish lahm the best of luck. i hope he will perform really well as usual. philipp lahm, you are my captain!

    1. Thank you for your comment =)

      I don’t know where Lahm was, but I guess he had some prior engagements and couldn’t make it to the press conference. But you are right in saying that reporters like to speculate and make up stories, so some of them certainly enjoyed the situation =)

      Good luck to the team today! =)

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