Sometimes I wish Philipp would answer in one phrase so that I would have less work to do :) But I cannot deny that I am always happy to listen to him. With the CL match coming up, here is his interview to TZ.
Lahm: On Wednesday, it’s really going to get started.
By Jan Janssen
He is the captain, and his ship is on course. After the win against Mainz, Philipp Lahm talks about the Bundesliga, the spat in the National Team, and the tasks ahead in the Champions League.
Five wins in five matches. It can go on that way, right?
Lahm: Right, it can go on that way and it should. We can be happy, although there were moments here and there when we gave away the initiative, but the first half, above all, was very, very good. However, the 2:1 was unnecessary, and we should have made it 3:1 earlier on. Overall, we can be satisfied.
Three wins in the Bundesliga with a total of 12:2. Is that a sign to the other teams in the Bundesliga?
Lahm: We’ve said that we want to be on top from the very beginning. Currently, we are on top, and we want to stay there.
Five wins in the first five matches. The last time something like that happened was in 2001. That year Bayern won the Champions League. Is that a good omen?
Lahm: That I didn’t know. And that doesn’t matter to us. The important thing is that we have won the games. Nevertheless, that doesn’t say much. It’s good that we’re still in the German Cup and have won the Super Cup. But what matters is where we are in the end. And there is still a long way to go.
What do you take away from the match against Mainz?
Lahm: We went into the lead (2:0) very early – that is our game! Go all the way, put some passion into it. We didn’t do that in the match against Stuttgart, where we were somewhat sleeping for the first 20 minutes. Against Mainz, we were present on the pitch right away. [As in, they were concentrated, etc.] It’s clear that we slowed down a bit later on. Many of us had played with their National Teams. And now, until the winter break, there’ll be only “English weeks”. [Just in case you don’t know what that means, it refers to playing more games in a week. For example, on Saturday, then on Wednesday, then on Saturday.] Keeping that in mind, you can’t go all the way the whole 90 minutes, that doesn’t work.
“Valencia” is coming on Wednesday!
Lahm: … and the goal must only be to advance as the group winners. It’s doable, that’s true. But on Wednesday, it’s really going to get started. Here against “Valencia”! It’s a top team that almost always plays in the Champions League and is almost always in the top three in Spain, behind Real and Barca. That’ll be a real test. It’s certainly the toughest opponent in the group.
You were openly criticized by Mats Hummels during the international matches; Sami Khedira contradicted you in an interview. What did that come across to you as?
Lahm: It was said, indeed, that those were attacks against me. Yet, one has to simply ask Mats and Sami if those statements were meant as attacks against me. Only they can answer that.
Have you talked to them about it?
Classic Lahm. He does not need to talk to them. He knows more than we do and/or is not worried about such nonsense.
Mario Mandzukic keeps on scoring and scoring. Will it be difficult for Mario Gomez to return to the team?
Lahm: Mario Gomez has already showed on many occasions what class he has. It’s enough to look at how many goals he has already scored. Recently, he has scored more than 20 goals in official matches in every season. We are happy that we now have someone behind him who can also score. We have somewhat lacked that in recent years. And we also have Claudio Pizarro.
Ribéry and Robben, they also can be substituted without a problem. What does that say about the team?
Lahm: It means that we’ve become more balanced, having good players on the bench, for example Shaq. It’s nice, now the team has depth and a lot of quality.
What is your impression of Javi Martinez?
Lahm: He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that. And it’s not easy when one only comes on as a substitute. But at some point, he’ll have an opportunity to demonstrate his skills from the very beginning. Today he made a sensational assist, and you could see that he’s a very, very good player. We all know that.
Can he take Bayern to a whole new level?
Lahm: We’ll see about that, it’s difficult to predict. However, one thing is clear: he’s a terrific player, a very good one. He will really help us out.
It is obvious that Philipp and his team are on a mission. I truly hope that everything will work out for them. I so want them to win everything that is possible and more.