Now that Bayern is through to the next round of the Champions League, I can finally relax for a bit and write about the past week or so. A brief review is in order.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my Italian readers. As far as I know, there were two waves of interest after the first leg and the second leg respectively, and it surprised me. As a fan of Lahm, I can only be happy. Besides, the more, the merrier!
To say that I was nervous before both games is to say nothing. It is that feeling when you desperately want something and forget to breathe once in a while. In terms of Lahm’s performance, I believe the beginning of both matches went similarly. Both times there were several misplaced passes in the first half, as if he could not quite get the hang of it. Although they did not send me into panic mode, I did wish for him to get it together as soon as possible, which he did. SZ put it best, writing about the first leg:
Began the match with a rather Italian opening: one very bad pass after another. Stopped the bad passing, then soon [stopped] Juve’s players. As the match went on, [he] played without mistakes. (my translation)
For some reason, I really liked this episode in the first leg. A mix of determination, speed, and class.
In contrast to the home game, the next match in Turin was more about Lahm concentrating on his defensive duties, which was dictated by the circumstances. (I do not mean to say that he did not participate in the attack, but it looked as if altogether it was more about the defense.) However, just like in the first match, Lahm’s performance was, overall, better in the second half. I, at least, could point to several instances that stood out:
1. When Robben started his run in the 88th minute, the camera showed him, two players from the opposite team, and the empty pitch all around. I was waiting for Lahm to show up any second, and he did not make me wait too long.
2. This one stood out because it was almost as cool as Lahm winning an air duel.
3. His attempt to make an assist.
4. Last but not least, Lahm the Rescuer.
Moving onto other matters, I would like to congratulate Lahm on his first Bundesliga title as captain of FC Bayern München! It has been long overdue, so I am really happy for him, for his team, and am waiting for the official celebration. The match on April 6th sealed the deal: Bayern became the earliest champions in the history of the Bundesliga! As to Lahm, there were plenty of things worthy of praise, including his assist to Schweinsteiger, which lead to the winning goal. Thus, I am going to mention only a couple of moments:
1. His tackles. The art. Not only did he do a clean tackle in the first place, but he also had the time to rush to the ball once again and did another one, since no one was close enough to keep the ball in possession. I loved what SZ had to say about it :
“In the first half, [he] demonstrated his contribution to the chapter on slide tackles in the football textbook. [He] slithered and slid on the pitch twice in a row with so much enjoyment that the former defender Jürgen Kohler would have gone green with envy.” With his assist he “reinforced this season’s impression that his performance as a right-back of the back four is good altogether for a textbook entry. The Master of the Wing.” (my translation)
(It looks like every other player was waiting for someone else to get there first.)
2. That would have been such a beautiful goal because I have no doubt Lahm would have scored. Stopped the ball, accelerated… Too bad the goalkeeper got there first. He also tried to score from a distance in the beginning of this half. Anyone who has been waiting for him to try scoring more, there you go! :)
On a side note, Sebastian Jung was Eintracht Frankfurt‘s captain in this one. According to the media, his idol is, indeed, Philipp Lahm, and Jung was very excited to shake his hand before the match because no one does the right-back thing better than Lahm. Jung’s coach believes that this lad is the number two after Lahm, but, according to his coach, he now needs to learn to score goals and to make assists. Well, if you ask me, it means there is still a long way to go.
As I was watching the video with Bayern‘s mini-celebration, I wondered if Lahm went to the stands and gave his jersey to a fan. Before hugging Heynckes, he clearly came from the direction of Bayern‘s sector of the arena. I wish there was a way to find out.
Overall, it was a great week, and I hope that there are more good things to come.