Kahn Criticizes Lahm? Bring It On.

Today Spiegel Online published an article in which they talk about Oliver Kahn’s critique of Bayern‘s captains: Lahm and Schweinsteiger.

The former international goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has strongly criticized the football generation of Lahm and Schweinsteiger. They [my note: the generation of players] are responsible for the weak results of the Bundesliga clubs on the international arena in the past decade. The 42-year-old wrote that on the Eurosport website.

The image is more important to Lahm and Schweinsteiger than success. Both professionals and their colleagues of the same age seek only “consensus and assimilation.” It would require more “leader type” people, as he [himself] was once. Kahn calls players like Rio Ferdinand, Carles Puyol, Xavi, John Terry, Frank Lampard and former Munich’s Lucio “beacons and examples to whom young players can look up and [next to whom they] can develop, and who will not disappear if things are not going well.” Each team needs strong individuals, but “without real leading players the Bundesliga clubs will have to wait longer for the international titles.

(my translation, (c) unavis)

I realize that some people might take those statements as certain inalienable truths. But I would say that it remains, nevertheless, an opinion, and the question is whether or not one agrees with it. I know that those who have not been very happy about Mark van Bommel’s departure are now jumping at the opportunity to say once again, “Yes! We don’t have any leaders!” (Screw the fact that everything does not depend on Lahm and Schweinsteiger, as in they are not coaches. Screw the fact that the team was messed up big time last season. For some people, these are clearly not arguments that would make one think that being successful is more than having a “van Bommel” on your team. Otherwise, many teams would not be successful at all.) Sometimes I think that Herr Kahn prefers to concentrate more on his own being-able-to-provoke nature. The fact that he, personally, would do it a certain way does not mean that it should be done that way. 

In addition, the fact that he chooses Lahm and Schweinsteiger as the faces of a new generation makes them “beacons and examples”, too. Does it not? To say that his own image is more important to Lahm than his team’s success is to show that Kahn does not know Philipp at all, which, to say the least, surprised me. And how elegant it is of Kahn to generalize it for the German football. I remember, not so long ago, Beckenbauer and Kahn expressed their opinions, and I remember how Lahm did not agree with them at all. And I say, “Good for you, Philipp. Good for you. Weiter so!” 

So, I have decided to look up the original, and it seems Spiegel Online got it pretty spot on. The only other thing I would take from the original is an idea that leading players should sometimes speak “the uncomfortable truths”. Oh yes… Like Lahm has not already done that.

I have checked out people’s comments below the article, and, among the usual “yes, you are right!”, “Lahm and Schweinsteiger are not leading players”, “Lahm is not a born leader”, etc., here is a couple of awesome, in my opinion, comments (the original):

1. Internationale Titel? Wie wäre es mal mit einem Blick auf die letztjährigen Erfolge der Nationalmannschaft und auf die Erfolge insgesamt? England ist zwar in der CL erfolgreicher, aber dafür scheitern sie bei WM’s und EM’s in schöner Regelmäßigkeit. Und warum? Weil diese ganzen Führungsspieler und Diven eben kein Team bilden können.
Und warum gewinnen sie in the CL? Weil sie einfach mehr Kohle haben und mehr hochklassike Spieler einkaufen können. Selbst das Budget von Bayern liegt weit unter dem der Top-Clubs.
Aber ist es wirklich so wichtig in der CL eine Macht zu werden? Ja, ich weiß, da ist viel Geld zu holen, aber mir reichen die gelegentlichen Erfolge völlig aus – viel schöner ist es später zuzuschauen, wie die NM den anderen Ländern (mit Ausnahme von Spanien – noch) zeigt, wo der Hammer hängt. (von swanpride, am Mo 15.Aug. 15:10)

International title? How about a look at the National Team success last year and the overall success? England is more successful in the Champions League, but they fail regularly at the World Cup and the European Championship. Why? Because all these leading players and divas cannot build a team.

And why do they win in the Champions League? Because they have more money and can buy more top players. Even the budget of Bayern is way below that of the top clubs. But is it really so important to be a power in the Champions League? Yes, I know that there is a change to get a lot of money, but for me occasional successes are quite enough – it is much nicer to watch later how the National Team shows other countries (with the exception of Spain – still) how it’s done. (my translation and emphasis)

2. Philipp Lahm hat sich vor nicht allzu langer Zeit sehr deutlich und kritisch in den Medien geäußert. Und was hat es gebracht? Nach meiner Erinnerung 50.000 Euro Geldstrafe. (von doppelehrlich, am Mo 15.Aug. 14:32)

Not so long ago, Philipp Lahm spoke critically and clearly in the media. And what did it bring? If I recall correctly, a 50,000 euro fine. (my translation)

Keeping in mind the constraints of this blog, my questions are: can Herr Kahn show me exactly when Lahm shied away from his responsibility last season? And, moreover, why cannot young players look up to Philipp? (I read people’s ‘Philipp is a role model’ pretty often.) How do we make an assessment of an individual’s strength?



  1. Lately, everybody seems to be harping on Lahm and Schweinsteiger not being real leaders. It got old really fast. To be honest, I don’t see why a captain needs to be so much of an “animal” in the first place. There’s always the coach to look up to. It’s more important that the players can make the team a real team, and I think die Mannschaft and Bayern are two excellent teams and you can see it in the way they interact. And I agree with the commentator that having a “leading player” for a captain is not an equivalent for winning titles. That would be too easy an answer.

    1. Andi~

      Thank you very much for commenting!

      You’re right, it did get old very fast, but I guess it is, so to speak, in fashion this year, too.

      “To be honest, I don’t see why a captain needs to be so much of an “animal” in the first place. There’s always the coach to look up to.” –

      Exactly! It seems people have this stereotypical thinking going on. And I guess I can deal with that. To a certain extent. What I do not like at all, however, is Kahn’s belief that it is their own public image that matters to Lahm and Schweinsteiger, not their club’s success. I believe this statement to be way out of line. It is an insult, in my opinion, on both personal and professional levels. He should know better.

  2. “They [my note: the generation of players] are responsible for the weak results of the Bundesliga clubs on the international arena in the past decade. ” In the past decade? No offence to Kahn, but as I remember, he did not retire until 2008. And it is 2011 this year.

    1. Jessie~

      Great point! =) I laughed a lot =))

  3. opfaith · · Reply

    Why those grand retired players like to criticize Philipp and Basti so often?

    As a super fan of them, I see they work hard and do their best to be a model to the young players. The young players in the Germany NT can easily integrate in the team now,
    this due to Philipp and Basti’s style, does’nt it?

    As to Bayern, the problems are more complicated. But Philipp never shrink back when they are in trouble. I sometimes even think it is a suprise that grew up in a such instable club
    (a club that do not have a long -term plan about team tactic, a club that changed 7 coaches during 10 years), Philipp and Basti can become world-class players.

    I admire Oli, but I can not agree with what he says in this article.

    By the way, thank you for creating this blog about Lahm, I enjoy read your comment and translation. And sorry my english is not so good. :)

    1. Hi =)

      Thanks very much for commenting! Your English is fine, don’t worry about it. And thank you for your kind words.

      “The young players in the Germany NT can easily integrate in the team now,
      this due to Philipp and Basti’s style, does’nt it? ” –

      Yeah, it might be. Good point!

      And I agree with your statement about Bayern’s problems. Absolutely. Frankly, I don’t understand why people don’t want to see that.
      I think Kahn is one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, but, as I’ve mentioned in my response to Andi, he went way out of line with some of his comments.

      “I sometimes even think it is a suprise that grew up in a such unstable club” – ahahaha This is a great comment =))))

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