The EURO 2012 begins for Germany, or was it Lahm?

Yesterday the German National Team played their first match at the European Championship 2012. After the game, I really wondered if I would be able to watch any other match of theirs. One hour later, I was still in that hectic mode that the match put me in. I am not sure if they were just nervous, or if there is a lot of work still to be done. Or both. In the end, they were obviously very tired, not to mention that it was very humid over there. (“It was like being in the sauna”© Philipp Lahm)

What was more shocking though was Lahm’s performance. Was it him? I had to ask myself that question several times over the course of the match. I am not one of those ‘I told you’ people, but I did, indeed, say in one of my previous posts that I was not too fond of him playing on the left. Perhaps, it simply wasn’t his day. Or, perhaps he just needs time, in which case I feel quite nervous. I have talked about it with many fans, and they had the same reaction: was that Lahm? Surely, he had some nice and important interceptions but also some very, very bad moves. Nani ate him up. In addition, Lahm practically did not join the attack at all, but that might have been part of the strategy.

Overall, it is not surprising that he did not impress the media with this display. The most common grade was ‘4’ (‘1’ being the best, ‘5’ – the worst). I do not always agree with how they rate players, but yesterday I was of the same opinion when it comes to the grades themselves. Nevertheless, there is still some discrepancy in our judgments.

Philipp Lahm: solid in the defense, but in terms of attack, there is plenty of room for improvement, especially the communication with Podolski should be improved. Grade: 4 (The source.)

Philipp Lahm: for a change, the captain of Germany isn’t in the spotlight since the Cristiano-Ronaldo-music played on the other side. However, his famous runs on the left lacked the dynamic that we are used to seeing from him. In terms of defense, he had Nani under control. Grade: 3 (The source.

Philipp Lahm: Will Boateng be able to handle Ronaldo? That was the question before the match, while Philipp Lahm had a somewhat less talented opponent on the left side; Nani dribbles and whirls in Manchester United. With the 5-centimeter-taller Portuguese, [Lahm] formed a dribble-and-swarm pair, in which things were mutually neutralized. […] The most neutral Lahm since the time when he was moved from the his position of left-back to right-back in February. [He] was increasingly out of focus and, overall, played one of his weakest games.  (The source.)

Philipp Lahm: Sympathetically speaking, one can talk about an average match for Bayern. Lahm appeared out of shape, had problems with Nani with regard to defending and brought nothing to the attack. He is lucky that there are no suitable alternatives for his position. (The source.)

This last phrase is probably the harshest out of all criticism that I have read. They are basically saying that he was s**t. I think that what shocked me the most. It was not his best, but he was not that sh***y.

Philipp Lahm: [He] had problems with the fast Nani, thus had to narrow down his actions entirely to the defensive duties. Thus, [he] rarely crossed the midfield line and had one of his weakest games for the National Team. (The source.)

Philipp Lahm: the captain was unusually unremarkable in the attack. Over the course of the match, stayed unnoticeable and delivered a performance below his abilities. (The source.)

There were also some rather positive outlooks that only emphasize the fact how differently we make sense of various situations.

Philipp Lahm: With regard to the captain, the question is why he can’t play on both sides of the defense line at the same time. The 87th international match of the Munich native was not his best, especially when it had to do with attacking. Hence, it was rather one of the worst. Perhaps, the reason for it was the hot and humid weather in Galicia. But the good thing about Philipp Lahm is that, being the oldest player in the starting lineup with his 28 years, he is never really bad. In most cases, he didn’t have any problems with his opponent Nani (Manchester United) […]  (The source.)

I do not want to put all the blame on the weather, but I do think it is an interesting point. I have a friend who hates playing a match when it is sunny. He prefers playing when it is raining. For some reason, he functions better in the rain. I felt like it was, indeed, difficult for Lahm to play in yesterday’s weather.

Philipp Lahm: [he] allowed hardly anything, was active and tried to switch fast. Nani rarely had a chance to develop the attack. Had a bit of luck when the ball kicked by Pepe bounced off of the crossbar and landed on the line. Confident as usual. (The source.)

Well, I believe that in that episode it had more to do with his height than anything else. Still, do you see how much discrepancy there is between one of the first reviews and this one? I was not sure if I had watched the same game once I read this take on it. However, for the 100th time, it made me think of Lahm’s conviction not to read ANY media review whatsoever because, as he writes in his book, the grades are sometimes given regardless of how a particular player performs his main duties. In addition, it made me wonder if I should reconsider my point of view…

Philipp Lahm: In the first half, he barely had something to do. When Nani approached, Lahm was at the right spot. The same thing after the halftime when the captain was needed only from time to time. Rarely joined the attack. Grade: 2,5 (The source.)

It looks like people could not agree whether Lahm owned Nani, or Nani owned Lahm. The one thing that all these reviews have in common is the fact that Lahm did not join the attack as much as people would have liked him to.

I have to say that I am a bit cautious of the upcoming match since the Netherlands have nothing to lose. Hence, I wish Philipp all the best! And let’s rock it, Fips!

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6 comments

  1. hi..
    i am too not pleased with lahm having to play at left. i like him to play at right instead. i feel like wanting to come up to jogi and ask him to switch lahm’s position. of course he wasnt at his best when playing with portugal, but i know deep inside my heart he’s gonna perform well on the upcoming match against the netherlands. i know he’s genius and my support goes 100% to him.

  2. Hi =)

    Thank for commenting!

    Me too, I’m 100% behind him, but I just want him to have good matches and not bad ones =)

  3. I think he wasn’t at his best, too. But the 2 friends who watched the game with me thought Lahm did just fine. They seem to be surprised still to hear that it was a bad performance for him. This makes me think that as Mannschaft and FC Bayern fans and followers, we take for granted how good Lahm really is, because he almost always gives us such excellent performances. After all, I don’t remember him making any huge mistake on Saturday, he just wasn’t as visible and participative in attacking as he usually is.

    1. Hi =)

      Thank you for commenting!

      You know, I usually try to restrain from being too nitpicking, try to be sensible and whatnot, but it looks like I’m not doing a very good job =)) ‘Cause your friends are right, and considering some of the reviews, they aren’t the only ones who think that way.
      But it’s true that it’s kind of hard not to expect great things from him =)

      1. You know, fans can be really.. tough on their favorites. I was commenting something like “where’s Lahm”, “why is he not assisting Poldi”, “he is so… invisible”, blah blah, and my friends were all thinking how come I forgot Lahm is a defender haha. I do hope they play with more cohesion on Wednesday, though. I was really disappointed.

        1. My main concern was the “defending” part of the equation. It did seem to me like he was out of focus at times.

          I definitely agree with you on playing cohesively. In fact, it goes for the whole team. They were a bit out-of-sync with each other, I thought.

          The other thing that makes me worried is the weather. It looks like it’s going to be hot on Tuesday too.

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