A long time ago, I realized that when Lahm does certain things, it is because everything is not going the way it’s supposed to. Every time he does them, it indicates that a certain match is going to be difficult or already is. But more about that later.
Today’s game was one of those instances after which people, who see me cheering and worrying, begin to think it is a very bad idea for me to be so involved. They start saying things like ‘it’s just a game’, ‘those players aren’t your friends’, etc. I find it difficult to explain to a non-fan why we, fans, are the way we are. Perhaps, Bayern’s own slogan – Mia San Mia – would be the best route to take in such debates. In the end, I was, indeed, getting ready to call everyone I know to complain about the fact that my team sometimes lacks that bit of luck they desperately need. Today’s match was too Finale-2012 for me in terms of the number of chances and too Inter-2011 with regard to how close we were to not getting through. But we did, and by ‘we’ I mean us, the fans, because the team showed up half-asleep.
From what I have heard, in his post-match interview Robben mentioned that one has to fight harder. Well, I would add one more thing to his statement: one also has to score when he is in one-on-one situation.
The whole idea of scoring a goal brings me back to the first sentence of this post. Whenever Lahm tries to score, starts playing as CAM, sort of becoming a forward, while making sure he does his defensive duties, one thing is clear: the match is not going well for whatever reason. If I remember correctly, he tried twice to score; then he got a yellow card for a tactical foul – wait for it – in the middle of the field, being some kind of midfielder. (By the way, I remember people complaining that at times a captain must get a yellow card if it’s needed and is going to help his team. Well, today’s card belongs to that category. People, please remember it.)
However, what this extreme multitasking also shows is that Lahm rises to the occasion. Just like he did in the final of the German Cup last year. Just like he did in the Champions League Final last year. He wants that title and wants it really bad. Though I wish he would not give passes to Toni Kroos. The latter just cannot read Lahm’s Intentions, or perhaps there is another problem, but the fact of the matter is that Lahm never gets the ball back once he gives it Kroos.
Also, there was a moment when Lahm was waiting in the penalty area to get the ball, and the person who was supposed to supply it did so by kicking it through the air. I am not sure if everyone got the memo, but Lahm is 1m 70cm. Was he expected to jump to get that one? Sure, I know he has won air duels on more than one occasion. However, when all the defenders, including the very tall ones, from the opposing team is in their penalty area, getting ready to kick the ball out, passing it to Lahm through the air might not be the best way to go. (I might need to re-watch that episode).
I am concluding this post with the excerpt from the SZ:
[Philipp Lahm] warned before the game that Bayern should play as if it were “0:0”. Also, [he] didn’t want to be “asleep” in the first minutes. Thus, [he] was present on the pitch on time and started the game as one knows Philipp Lahm would. By now, he’s earned himself a photo next to the lexical entries “textbook way”, “exemplary”, and “disciplined”. (my translation)
I find it somewhat ironic that Bayern did not quite start playing as if it were “o:o” and that they were, indeed, asleep in the first minutes. (And damn you, the slippery pitch!) But I also love the author’s way of describing Lahm’s way of playing. It is like opening a dictionary and seeing his picture next to those three words.
In today’s match, we, no doubt, slipped and shook. I believe it is better to do it now than later.