Writing about someone’s interview in the middle of the night is probably not the best way to do it, but it is what it is. *smile* I have definitely some things to say on the subject, but I will comment after having translated the whole interview. Here is the first part, and hopefully, the second will follow.
A HUGE thank you goes to the reader Ever for providing me with the original. Otherwise, the translation would not have been possible. So, thank you very much!
SportBild 46 (2011), the interview by Christian Falk and Tobias Altschäffl
The Summit of Leaders
SB: Mr. Lahm, you are the captain of the National Team and FC Bayern. Mr. Kahn, you are a former captain. We’ve asked you to come to this interview because you both represent different philosophies when it comes to the question of leadership. Mr. Kahn has pointed to the connection between the absence of titles and the new leadership style. Why?
Kahn (42): Both the National Team and FC Bayern have been experiencing some promising development. With that kind of quality, you would like to win big titles. In that respect, the question arises as to what is missing. Those are a couple of aspects – 5 to 10 percent – that go through one’s mind. I have spoken on that subject matter. How can one get that missing percentage?
SB: Mr. Lahm, you have played in the big finals but, in fact, you lack big titles just as an irrefutable argument for your philosophy of the flat hierarchy.
Philipp Lahm (28): It is clear that what ultimately counts is the title. We will be perceived as a good generation only if we win a title. We have to measure a career by that. I see that there has been a good development in the National Team and FC Bayern. Now is the moment to win a title.
SB: Philipp Lahm has asserted himself, with his opinion, against Michael Ballack in the campaign for the captain’s armband in the National Team. Is it due to the fact that his style corresponds better to the demand of time?
Kahn: I wouldn’t link that to the style. When one reaches that certain age, like Michael, the youngsters automatically take on the alpha-leader. Due to the high quality in the team and the strong performance at the World Cup 2010, Michael was replaced and didn’t have the same status in the team as he had previously had. It is important to recognize that early on. In 2006, it was clear to me that it didn’t make sense to continue playing for the National Team. The set-ups are written with the course of time.
SB: Out with the alpha-leaders, in with the flat hierarchy?
Kahn: Surely nobody believes that there is no hierarchical structure in a football team. Decisions have to be taken by somebody from someone. In addition, reasonable hierarchies can have a cooling effect when it comes to conflicts because there is a rule that regulates clashes between people. Players like Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Mertesacker, Klose, Gomez, Müller or Philipp are all those types of players who possess leadership qualities and are ready for a big title. The second and third places don’t satisfy you anymore. The National Team has also demonstrated that after the World Cup 2010, when they didn’t want to take part in any celebration. The Spain’s head coach, Vincente del Bosque, while exaggerating a bit, has said before the World Cup, “We should stop with the niceness!” And that also applies to our boys for the upcoming European Championship. After 1996, it is again time to win a title.
SB: Mr. Lahm, you say that the time for screaming “We’ve got to have the balls!” is in the past. You quote Mr. Kahn. How far off are your principles of the leadership?
Philipp Lahm: Not far at all! A flat hierarchy also implies a hierarchy. Each team has a hierarchy, even must have one. It’s the same with us. We have players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and I, whose standing is somewhat higher than that of others. Oliver had a different personality back then than the one we have: very emotional, his will came across, his ambition. That was impressive to me.
Kahn: In that regard, I have to say one required that from me. There were times when those roles stressed me very much, thus I put myself even under greater pressure because of the outside pressure. High motivation won’t be permanently maintained and exemplified. Otherwise, one burns out fast. Therefore, it is important that the responsibility rests on many shoulders. Also, I spoke the phrase “we’ve got to have the balls” into the journalist’s microphone and didn’t scream.
SB: One basically never sees you scream, Mr. Lahm.
Philipp Lahm: Oliver and I are different people. It wouldn’t be plausible if I shook a teammate. Me too, I am emotional, but I try to get a grip. It simply works for me, it’s a strength also. I can imagine that it can be very exhausting to be always as emotional as Oliver was. Thus, I always try to come down. Every three days [to experience] those emotions, it takes a toll on energy.
Kahn: One has to distinguish between things. As soon as we were on the pitch, I wanted to help the team with my presence. My first coach at KSC, Winnie Schäfer, taught me that. During a normal contact with the team, I was more reserved. As a captain, one has to develop an ability to feel when he should act louder or when he should be calmer (reassuring).
SB: Are there enough players like that at FC Bayern?
Lahm: We have a core of five, six players who continue to grow into the leadership roles: Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez, Bastian or I. The players who stand for the club and, in case of trouble, reel others in.
© translation unavis
Part II of the interview.