August (Lahm’s Book) And September (Germany vs. Austria)

On the wave of Germany’s win against Austria today (6:2), I have decided to go back to this post that I started writing two or three days ago. Before doing so, a couple of remarks about today’s match. I thought it was a quiet game for Philipp in terms of joining the attack. Süddeutsche Zeitung writes that he was, indeed, too quiet and did not do much, allowing Austria to attack. (I would not agree on this one, but to each his own.) The newspaper notes with sarcasm that he was as quiet as he claims his book is. (Philipp, indeed, did say that it is a quiet book.) It seems to me Philipp’s function was to concentrate on his primary duty, i.e. defending, which is totally understandable, looking at how well the attack was equipped. He did manage to tear his jersey around the 74th+ minute, even though it was not his fault. Lahm had to go to the sidelines to change it. I guess UEFA’s attitude toward torn jerseys is very serious. *laugh*

As to his book, it appears some people are surprised to discover they actually like the book. (I do not know why anyone would assume it to be bad to begin with.) Apart from those who do not like it “just because”, it seems the readers are enjoying it. There are plenty of interesting comments. One of the users on Amazon gave it 3 out of 5 stars and even expressed his regret at how little insight there is into the world of football with regard to some internal/schematic/strategic matters. The user points out that, in his opinion, Lahm was afraid of stepping on somebody else’s toes. Well, that was exactly the point, isn’t it? He also emphasizes that Lahm did not go into enough depth. (But if we think about it, that was not Lahm’s goal.) The same user writes that Lahm’s book is rather for young readers and Bayern fans. Once again, wasn’t that the point? A review like this one tells me that Lahm has succeeded in doing what he intended to do.

From the same user:

In fact, it is a book for young people. A young person, who is interested in football, is exactly the person to whom I would recommend this book without hesitation. (my translation)

Doesn’t that bring us back to the preface in the book? I think it does, and once again this is exactly what Lahm intended to do. The user also expresses his astonishment at people’s willingness to view the whole thing as criticism, even though many of them have not read the book. I, too, have been wondering about that. People were ready to circulate the idea without reading the book in its entirety. As far as I know, the first edition has been sold out. (It was about 100,000 copies, I believe.) The publishers (?) have ordered another set of copies. I have also seen a comment on Facebook, saying that a person had to go to three different stores to buy it because the first two did not have it.

In an interview to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Schweinsteiger, when answering a question about Lahm’s book, says:

I gladly read biographies, but I already know everything about Philipp. (my translation)

That is what I have been thinking this whole time. The players should know Lahm better than any of us. They should know what he is about.

Also, Holger Badstuber points out in an interview to Sport1:

Philipp also behaves completely normal. We, his colleagues, have appreciated him before the book and continue to appreciate him now. He is our captain. (my translation)

In addition, Marcel Schmelzer remarks:

For us, not much has changed. Philipp is a good captain who helps us, young players, to integrated into the team. You can talk to Philipp about anything, and he comes up to us. I think that here everything goes well. (my translation)

He could have stopped at “he is a good captain” but elaborated on his answer, and I believe that it is very important. One of my readers, Fips4Ever, has already pointed out the very same idea, and I find it interesting. Based on the excerpts about Philipp’s first experience with the National Team, it becomes clear why now he behaves the way he does. And I do not even doubt the fact that one can talk to him about anything. He seems like a very approachable and well-rounded individual.

All of the above guides me to this:  Oliver Kahn, who, by the way, clearly cannot let it go, has said that a leader should say uncomfortable truths. Yet, he writes in his blog that he does not understand Lahm. Oliver Bierhoff says that Lahm overstepped the boundaries, and the DFB says they like to have players who have their own opinion.

So, let me make sure if I got it right: he can say the truth but not the truth they want to hear; he obviously has the guts but not in the way Kahn would like him to have them. When he is diplomatic, then it is good for the DFB – even though they need players who openly speak their mind – but it is not good for Lahm because the whole community thinks he is too nice, including Kahn who believes that a player should speak uncomfortable truths. As soon as Lahm shows his claws, there is a possibility of the DFB not being happy about it, like in this case, and certain people, too, may think that it is not cool. Why? Because those are not the claws they would have liked to see. All of that makes me want to say, “Keep it up, Philipp!”

I wonder… If the book had been written by someone else, would the hype have been so huge? Or is it because it is Philipp who speaks?

My question is: what do people need/want?

PS.: here are two videos in English that most likely would have sparked a certain degree of anger in me if I had seen them earlier. I am tired of the phrase “in his book he criticizes”. They make it seem like the whole book is full of criticism. But what bothers me even more is that those who watch the videos will certainly believe what they hear.

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13 comments

  1. Hey,

    first of all I would like to start with Philipps perfomance last evening. I was really nervous how he and his team would perform. I could easily imagine how he would be criticized by the media and fans if they would have lost this game. I hoped that he would perform like last Saturday match, in which he was just billiant.
    Maybe I should just be happy, that they have won this game so easily, but right now I am quite unhappy. Sorry, but now I will write in German ;-)

    Philipp hat mir den ganzen Abend über nicht gefallen. Das war einfach nicht er. Er hat niemals zu seinem Spielrhythmus gefunden, was wirklich schade war, man ihm aber auch angemerkt hat. Vor allen Dingen hat er selbst gesagt, dass, wenn er mal keinen so guten Tag hat, dann lieber auf Nummer sicher geht und nur Sicherheitspässe spielt, was er ja auch hauptsächlich getan hat. Dabei will ich aber zugute halten, dass es nicht alleine seine Schuld war, dass er offensiv nicht wirklich viel bewirkt hat. Einerseits natürlich weil Özil & Co genug eigenen Druck aufbauen konnten, andererseits weil ein Podolski einfach absolut kein Gefühl dafür hatte, wie er sich vor Philipp zu verhalten hatte. Es war doch so: Wenn Philipp den Ball hatte und auch mal etwas Platz, weil sein Bewacher(ich hasse es, wenn der Gegner einen Spieler nur für Philipp abstellt) nicht aufgepasst hat, dann hätte er sicherlich gerne mal schnell nach vorne gespielt. Problem war aber dann meistens, dass ihm Podolski quasi auf den Füßen stand anstatt sich vielleicht mal vorne frei zu laufen. Ich weiß nicht, wie oft ich diesen Idioten durch den Fernseher angebrüllt habe, aber meine Stimme ist mittlerweile nicht mehr zu gebrauchen ;-)
    Bestes Beispiel für solch eine Szene ist doch die kurz vor dem 2:0. Da stehen sich Philipp, Podolski und Özil quasi zu dritt auf den Füßen. Zwar entsteht so das Tor, aber es wäre sinnvoller gewesen, wäre Podolski weiter vorne postiert gewesen.
    Auch sonst hat Podolski bis auf sein Tor und ein, zwei gute Offensivaktionen nicht wirklich viel zum Spiel beigetragen. Ich weiß echt nicht, wieso so viele Experten und Fans ihn als gut empfunden haben. Ich empfand ihn einfach als katastrophal!
    Zurück zu Phil: Mit so einem Vordermann ist es wirklich nicht leicht, auch nur ansatzweise etwas positives zu bewirken. Und dass er ein paar Mal überlaufen wurde, ist natürlich auch nicht gerade toll. Auch wenn ich es nur ungern zugebe, aber vielleicht wird er so langsam zu alt für die Außenverteidigerrolle. Versteh mich bitte nicht falsch: Ich liebe seine Spielweise. Aber das Tempo wird immer höher und er hat immer häufiger das Nachsehen. Am liebsten würde ich ihn mal wieder zentral sehen(so wie gegen Aserbaidschan vor zwei Monaten), aber dann hätte man mal wieder das Problem, dass man keinen guten Außenverteidiger als Ersatz hätte.
    Beim ersten Gegentor läuft soviel falsch. Natürlich hätte Philipp die Flanke verhindern müssen, aber ich bin immer noch der Meinung, dass hier Podolski oder einer aus dem Mittelfeld(Schweinsteiger, Kroos) gepennt hat. Schließlich war Philipp ja eingerückt wie er es wohl von Löw aus so machen soll. Deshalb hätte einer von den drei genannten die linke Seite absichern müssen. Hat aber keiner, weshalb es nur logisch war, dass Philipp zu spät zu seinem Mann kam. Dass Badstuber das Kopfballduell verliert und auch Neuer mal wieder alles andere als gut aussah, kommt noch erschwerend hinzu. Normalerweise darf das Tor eigentlich gar nicht fallen, aber wahrscheinlich war da mal wieder die komplette Abwehr schon mit den Gedanken in der Kabine ;-)
    Die beste Szene im ganzen Spiel war wirklich, wo Philipp sein Trikot austauschen musste. Ich hatte zuerst Angst, dass er ausgewechselt werden würde, weil er sich die Kapitänsbinde vom Arm riss und Richtung Seitenlinie ging(ich hatte nicht sofort gesehen, dass sein Trikot kaputt war), aber zum Glück war es ja nur für den Tausch. Gut, dass der Zeugwart so schnell ein neues Trikot parat hatte. Wäre schön blöd gewesen, wenn man ihn hätte auswechseln müssen, weil er kein ganzes Trikot an hat ;-) (Falls es dich interessiert: Habe hier die Szene in gifs umgewandelt: http://fips4ever.tumblr.com/tagged/deutschland_%C3%B6sterreich
    Nach dem Spiel hat man auf dem Kanal, auf dem ich das Spiel gesehen habe, eine kurze Zusammenfassung von Philipps Arbeitstag gezeigt. Dabei ist man aber natürlich nur auf seine Fehler eingegangen. Das fand ich schon ziemlich dreist, aber nun ja. Im Moment versucht ja sowieso jeder der Medien Philipp im schlechten Licht dastehen zu lassen.
    Ich war auf jeden Fall ziemlich enttäuscht von Philipp. Auch weil er irgendwie so aussah, als hätte er gar keine Lust auf dieses Spiel. Schade.
    Besonders schade ist das auch, weil er am Dienstag wohl sicherlich nicht spielen wird. Jogi hat ja schon angedeutet, dass er seine Stammkräfte schonen will. Menno. Dann muss ich jetzt noch eine ganze Woche warten, bevor ich ihn wieder spielen sehen kann….

    Later I am going to write a comment about his book and everthing you have been talking about, but now I am too tired for such a comment. Sorry ;-)

    Liebe Grüße

    Fips4Ever

    1. Hallo =)

      Vielen Dank for leaving a comment =) You don’t have to apologize. I know what it means to be tired ;)

      I really like your take on things. You’ve touched upon some interesting points, but I will have to disagree with you on some of them:

      1). True, it wasn’t Lahm’s best game, I thought it was just ok. But that happens. I’m sure you would agree that we all have those days when we don’t feel like doing something. (I’m not saying that that’s what Philipp felt! I’m just hypothesizing.) I don’t think it had to do with him being old for a full-back. Take the World Cup 2010 and his games for Bayern, for example ;)

      But I think it had more to do with what function he was supposed to perform during the match, and that wasn’t helping the attack. I don’t think that’s what he was supposed to do.
      I also believe we all sometimes forget that he is human ;)

      2) I actually liked Lukas in this game =)

      3) In that episode with the goal, me too, I thought that Philipp could have done better. However, at the same time I thought it was rather Holger’s fault.

      That being said, I cannot believe they actually started to break apart Philipp’s mistakes after the match! Are you kidding?! This is so messed up…

      I understand your disappointment. Me too, I want Philipp to be amazing in every game, but that’s impossible. He is already in a league of his own, and that’s why we, as fans, expect him to be awesome every time =)

    2. PS.: Also, thank you very much for the link =))

  2. I still don’t think it is a good idea for him to publish a book at this point of his career. After all, it has caused quite a stir. But I am very glad to hear so many positive comments from his teammates, especially those about how he has been treating young players.

    1. Jessie~

      Thank you for leaving a comment!

      Could you elaborate a bit on why you think it was a bad idea for him to publish a book at this point? (Keeping in mind his goals for the book, it seems to me like a perfect time.)

  3. I wish that people (and critics too) should be fair towards Philipp’s book. I don’t think he was ‘criticising’ — for me, he was just telling us his observations on the people he has worked with.

    I kind of noticed that whenever Philipp speaks out, many people are always after him.

    1. This is true :D But at the same time, that means his opinion matters ;)

      People who have read it say that he talks about both positive and negative aspects.

      From one of the reviews, “Lahm writes about it objectively and clear, taking positive and negative attributes, methods and developments, always with a reference that here he is expressing only his own opinion.”

  4. Even I am Lahm’s super fan, I don’t think he did no wrong this time. He truely doesn’t mean to “criticize” any one, he just told what his felling and observation. But once he wrote down the book, he gave the chance for people to attack him. I think he must think carefully before doing some thing than ever before, because he is the captain of National Team and Bayern, every one is watching what he says and what he does. Honest is good, but this time, honest makes unnecessary preasure for himself, which he already has heavy reseponsibility on his shoulder,

    Anyway, I was so proud when I saw the young player said that “He is our captain.” And I like what Basti said, haha!

    1. Hi =)
      Thank you for leaving a comment!

      So, let’s take a look at the whole thing… People have already figured out that there is nothing in the book that can be called “criticism”. And I’m not talking about Lahm’s fans. I’m talking about the media and even about those who didn’t want to read the book to begin with. That much is clear: there is basically no criticism in there. Thus, the only “wrong” that has been done is publishing it right now, right? But why is it wrong? Because he is an active player? And so what? Can’t an active player analyze his experiences? In order to figure out where one is going, he has to look at what has come before. Why not to do it now? =) Seems appropriate and, most importantly, relevant.
      He does think before doing stuff, there is no doubt about that. Look at the book, look at us here! :) We’re discussing the matter, and that means it is interesting, and there is something to say about it.

      In fact, upon hearing about the book in March, I thought to myself, “Why am I not surprised that it’s Lahm who is going to publish a book?” :) That didn’t surprise me at all.

      PS.: People have been bashing him before. They didn’t need a book to do it last year ;)

      And thanks for taking part in the discussion :D

  5. I don’t think his performance in the match against Austria was good, but, usually we didn’t know what Loew had asked him to do. Maybe he decided that Philipp didn’t need to attack much, we couldn’t have known that.
    As for the first goal of Austria, I did think that he needed to take some responsibility for it. He let the opponent pass the ball quite easily, and then Holge was too careless to notice that player who was ready to shoot on his head. Anyway, that was a mistake for the whole defense line. I’m sorry for Manu :-))
    Hope he will do well on Tuesday and won’t get hurt =)))

  6. Rui~

    Thank you for leaving a comment! I appreciate it :D

  7. Did you also read this interesting interview with Lahm?

    http://www.zeit.de/2011/36/Interview-Lahm-Rinke/komplettansicht

    1. Hi =)

      No, I haven’t! Thank you for giving the link and drawing my attention to it!

      It seems it just came out today. But I have waited for it for it since August. I remember Philipp mentioning it on his Facebook page. Woohoo!!!

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