“Mr. Lahm, what’s it like to be a father?”

I do not know about you, but I found out about this interview only today. I had no idea that fans had a chance of asking Lahm a question on Facebook. I wish I could have done so myself. You can read the original here.

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“Being a father, does one get enough sleep?” The users on Facebook asked, and the captain answered. The team.dfb.de.-interview with Philipp Lahm before the first WC 2014 qualification game against the Faroe Islands on Friday in Hanover.

Andreas Awdschjan: What’s it like to be a father? Do you get enough sleep? How has your life changed since the birth of your child?

Philipp Lahm: It has changed a lot, that’s clear. But it’s a nice change. There is something beautiful in starting a family. For us, everything is new, we became parents for the first time.  The nights are getting shorter, but I don’t consider it bad. For me, it goes without saying that I get up and help. I do it gladly. My wife spares me if the next day is full of appointments/events. However, in general, I help during the night as best as I can.

Sab Rina: Is the defeat against Italy at the EURO 2012 still affecting you?

Lahm: I’m looking forward to the future. In the days immediately following the defeat, I still thought about it and asked myself questions. But now it’s done and over with. I focus on the future, we are facing a long process of qualification. There is again a major tournament, and I look forward to it.

Kerstin Wicklein: Do you view defeats as an opportunity?

Lahm: Yes. We the athletes learn quite early to deal with defeats. I believe it is important to be a “bigger “man in the defeat, to respect the opponent and his performance, to congratulate him in the sportsmanlike manner. And, of course, you always have to think afterwards about what you can improve. That’s where an opportunity lies.

Christopher Backhaus: With all due respect to the Faroe Islands, how do you prepare for an opponent of a lower standing?

Lahm: Most of the players on our team have been on it for quite some time and have played many qualification games. As such, once in a while, you play against, so-to-speak, smaller teams. You have to simply be focused, going into the game, and prepare seriously.  There are no more opponents that one can defeat in a passing-by manner. Regardless of an opponent, the preparation is the same. There is a video analysis,  we always examine the opponent in detail. So, we are going to be very prepared, also against the Faroe Islands. We know that it’s important to start the qualification well and secure a comfortable victory at home. 

Patrick Lux: In your opinion, what are the chances of coming in first in the group?

Lahm: If you look at the past, we are the clear favorites. That’s how it was in the qualification round before the EURO 2012 as well. Back then, we managed to play confidently and easily qualify as group winners. Now the group is a bit more difficult. Sweden and Ireland got to the final stage at the EURO 2012. Playing against Austria is a derby, that’s never easy. Also, we must play against Kazakhstan, especially away from home. We’re going to play on the artificial turf, the time difference plays a role.  We completed this task with confidence in the EURO 2012 qualification, and we want to do that again.

Frank Wagner: What would the outcome be if the National Team of the present played against that of 1990?

Lahm: It’s always difficult to compare generations and teams. The National Team of 1990 was a great team. It was the first National Team that I followed as a kid. They became world champions with great players. With Lothar Matthäus, who played an outstanding tournament. With Brehme, Buchwald, Klinsmann, Völler, Häßler, Littbarski – a great team. It’s almost impossible to compare that with today’s situation. I don’t want to.

Oliver Wagner: Who is your favorite football player?

Lahm: In 1990, Lothar Matthäus was simply outstanding, one must say that clearly. I also thought Pierre Littbarski was awesome. His way of playing football just fascinated me. And I had something in common with him: he also wasn’t the tallest. Matthäus and Littbarski, both were my idols at the time.

Robin Schmidt: What profession would you have chosen if you hadn’t become a football player?

Lahm: In the early days, I wanted to become a baker. My reasoning was that I would then be able to go home early. Then there was a time when I wanted to become a banker. My sister is a police officer, so today I would say that I would rather have gone in that direction if it hadn’t worked out with football.

Daniel Nerreter: Are you proud to be the captain of the German National Team?

Lahm: Absolutely, very much so. To lead a football nation such as Germany on the pitch is terrific. It’s really fun for me to work together with young players. In the international matches, I’m the second oldest in the squad. As captain, I’m happy to set an example, also with regard to the attitude.

Jan Peters: Who is your best friend in the National Team?

Lahm: I get along very well with many players. In particular, I sometimes hang out with Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer. When Arne Friedrich was still on the team, we hung out a lot. Even today, we stay in touch, call each other every now and then, and he tells me how things are going for him in the USA.

Patrick Nietz: In what way are the Spanish still better the Germans?

Lahm: Currently, the best players are from Spain. Iniesta und Xavi are outstanding players. Their way of playing is perfect when it comes to passes and switching the pace. We have a good team, but the Spanish are a bit further along. For us, it’s a huge challenge to beat this team.

(translation ©unavis. It is strictly forbidden to use this translation, in parts or in its entirety, without my consent.)

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I have to say that the question about the captaincy made me smile. Of course, he is proud to lead the team. Who wouldn’t be? Also, I have lost count of how many times Lahm has been asked about his potential job. I wonder why the moderator included that question. Maybe others were less interesting… With regard to the team of 1990, there is a saying, “Every age/time has its heroes.” These teams are more than 10 years apart! A lot has changed in the world of football since then. It is rather pointless to compare them.

On a side note, I am very happy that Arne and Philipp keep in touch. That is awesome! All in all, I am content with the interview.

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10 comments

  1. What would you have asked him?

    1. Hi there :)

      I think my question would be something along these lines: in his opinion, how/to what extent, if at all, has the media shaped his image that we, as fans, have of him?

      Did you send in your question?

      1. Hmm, yes, that would have been interesting to read about. No, I don’t have a question for him at the moment, his actions on the field and his interviews hardly leave any question marks for me. He comes across as a very honest, fully-rounded person, I guess.

        1. Yeah, he is. Quite clear too.

          In fact, your question made me think the whole interview over, which is, of course, a good thing. I guess the interview is good for someone who just discovered Lahm or for a casual fan. But for me, who is a bit more than that, it lacked something, and it really comes down to questions. I read it again last night and thought that three-four questions could have easily been thrown out :)

          1. So true, interviewers seem to pose the same questions over and over. Which is why I’m glad whenever I learn the smallest bit of new information, e.g. at the press conference today. Well, it wasn’t really shocking news or anything, but what he said about the (generations of German national) teams that have actually won a world championship, of which there are only three. So to be in one of those teams is really much rarer than the media and the fans realize, as winning the championship happens really not that often when you think about it. I thought it was great of him to point that out, since he and his leading abilities are often measured against the number of titles his team has won.

            In his Facebook responses, I learned that Matthäus, my all-time favorite player, also used to be one of his idols, which is cool and also makes sense because I’m his age and back in 1990, there really was no way around him, haha, but I hadn’t known about that. So my favorite player’s idol is one of my former favorite players. Maybe one day, one or two decades from now, a young footballer will name Lahm as his idol, that would be awesome!

            Oh, and I also soak up anything to do with tactics, which I think they are asked and talk about way too little. /rant

    2. Andy~

      It’s good that you wrote about the press conference because I was actually in the process of writing a post in which I was going to tear it apart :)) I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring.

      But I agree with you that mentioning the football generations the way he did was a great move on Lahm’s part.

      As to Matthäus, I knew about that ’cause he’s mentioned it so many times before ;) I’m glad, though, that you’ve discovered something new! And I am certainly hoping that one day somebody will say, “When I was a boy, Lahm was the greatest!” :D

      With regard to tactics, I think Lahm usually talks about it to the extent that is allowed, if you know what I mean. Very rarely so at press conferences. Usually, in interviews and definitely not before a game ;)

      1. Do please write your post! :) I only saw the press conference once and you’re absolutely right, they are boring. You have to blame the German media, I guess, who tear anything the coach or any player says apart. So they are being coached from a very early age on exactly what to say and how to act and what to disclose. To a point where you know Mesut Özil has learned the questions beforehand and has worked on his responses and just delivers speeches rather than giving spontaneous answers (which, him not being the most eloquent German, may be forgiven). That’s why I love PKs with Lahm or Müller the most because their responses feel more authentic and afterwards I feel at least a little like I’ve taken something away from it. Anyway, I guess one could rant for hours about all the things that are wrong with modern, polished football… Here’s where your question to Lahm comes in. I think the players have been very well groomed by the DFB and only seldom glimpses of their true opinions come through. Ah, we’ve come full circle. ;)

    3. :D

      I think I’m going to re-watch the conference to see if my opinion has changed. In order to watch it live, I had to wake up early, having slept only 4 hours. Hence, it is possible that my judgment was cloudy :)

      To tell you the truth, I’m not so much against “polished football”, as you call it, because I’m not a fan of bravado. The latter doesn’t mean, in my opinion, that a players has the guts. I also realize there are certain rules that have to be followed so that the opponent won’t know too much or general public won’t speculate too much. One has to be careful about not mentioning particular names, not talking about teammates if it can be avoided, and one has to speak in generalities at times. It’s just necessary.

      As to Lahm, I believe he is a natural. Of course, we all, hopefully, get better with practice in whatever we do. But there are things for which we have an aptitude. Some of us are born singers, dancers, politicians, and so on. Lahm’s eloquence is something that he was born with, in my opinion. (Again, I’m not talking about practicing and all ’cause that goes without saying.) I remember an interview (in 2007?) in which a journalist asked Lahm if he had always been like that or if someone had taught him. And Lahm said that no one had taught him to be able to express himself like that. Although he was told, by Grill if I’m not mistaken, that he has to say a bit more :) His answers were too short, and I wasn’t surprised to hear that.

      There have been press conferences that made me go, “Wow! That was stellar!” But again, it all depends on the questions. Some of them are innovative, serious or fun, and when there is a good interviewer, Lahm’s eloquence and intelligence can be seen from miles away. It’s basically through the roof! :) (It can be clearly seen on an average day too, but perhaps, not to the same extent.)

      On a side note, one of his interviews that I absolutely love is the one when he managed with just two simple phrases “wenn Sie meinen” and “stimmt” to not only keep the information he wasn’t willing to disclose, but also put a journalist in a position where the latter didn’t know what to say next ’cause there was no way out of it :) And, from my point of view, those two phrases were so appropriate and so well-placed that I must have watched the segment more than 10 times :)

      It fascinates me, to tell you the truth. (As if it wasn’t clear already ahaha) I sometimes ask myself, “How does he do it?” There was another interview on Bayern’s website in which he didn’t budge an inch, and it was so awesome. I also like how he often clarifies things by asking “With regard to..?”, “what exactly do you mean?”, etc.

      Anyway, I am rambling to much… :)

  2. korean fan · · Reply

    I like Lahm.
    Thanks for posting the interview translated.

    1. Hi :)

      Thanks for leaving a comment! I appreciate it.

      I’m glad to hear that you like Lahm :)

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