I have to say that I had great expectations for the match against Israel. Why? I have no idea. I am aware of the fact that Germany does not try very hard in friendlies. I am also aware of their tendency to try new things and test what they already have. Nevertheless, I expected a powerful display of tactics, skills, and whatnot. Yet, I saw nothing of that sort. I feel there are still more questions than answers. What is certain, however, is that almost all newspapers were pretty happy to see Lahm play.
Philipp Lahm: how good that he’s back. And pretty please, stay on the left side where Schmelzer has demonstrated why it’s no good when the captain isn’t there. [He] manoeuvres to avoid the opponent, runs like a machine, and makes the game go well in terms of safety. (the source)
Philipp Lahm: can do anything and knows everything, at least where the German defense, at full-back, is concerned. This time defended at left-back, which can also be his position in the match against Portugal, and did so in his usual flawless manner. Thus, [he] is definitely the most boring in the German National Team, which should formally be understood as a compliment. (the source)
Philipp Lahm: Hardworking in the attack and with some good ideas that failed due to the lack of cooperation on his teammates’ part. Good that he’s back. Grade “3”, i.e. satisfactory. (the source)
Philipp Lahm did his thing at left-back habitually well. Always ready to play, he boosted the game of the Germans on his side. The excess of energy had to go somewhere, as there was nothing to do in the defense. Lahm as fullback is all set for the European Championship, but Löw didn’t say whether on the right or on the left. (the source)
Philipp Lahm: His work in the attack often seemed like a make-believe attack. Head held high, acceleration in the direction of midfield, a more secure pass to the next man. Frequently, his crosses ended at the opponent’s feet or were left hanging. (the source) (in other words, it wasn’t good)
Apart from everything else, “The Lahm Equation” is as pertinent as ever. I was not too fond of Boateng at right-back. In my opinion, he lacked speed. Thinking of the upcoming match against Portugal, I do not want to imagine how Boatend vs. Ronaldo thing will work out. I am starting to believe that I would prefer Lahm on the right. But in that case, there will be nobody who can play at the necessary level on the left. (Schmelzer has yet to impress me.) And Jogi has pointed out that once they decide where Lahm plays, it will stay like that for the duration of the championship, which is understandable, and I am fine with that logic.
Overall, I have two concerns:
1. When it comes to defending, I think that Lahm is better at right-back. I do know that he is almost equally superb on the left. However, he has been playing at right-back for two years now. Whether a player is a genius or not, he needs time to adjust. And needing time takes… well, time. I do not feel comfortable trying it out during a major competition. He will need time, that is certain. Do people have patience? I am not sure. When he played at left-back in the first half of this season, they were rather impatient while expecting him to demonstrate his awesomeness right away. That brings me to my second concern.
2. I do not want that pressure to be on Lahm’s shoulders. I guess that it is a question of attitude: if people want to see him at left-back or understand that it is necessary for him to play at left-back, then they must be prepared to give him time.
As much as the next person, I want him to be the best he can, but there is not much time to adjust. Jogi surely has a dilemma to resolve.