Before Pep Guardiola actually came to Bayern, I had been expecting some changes while cringing in advance at the thought of them really happening. I disliked – and still do – the idea of Bayern become another Barcelona in terms of its playing style. (I was one of those who loved the “1-8-1 formation” joke.) Moreover, after witnessing the team being rebuild, waiting for it to take what was rightfully theirs, I disliked the very idea of someone messing it up and fixing what was not broken, as well as breaking what had already been fixed.
However, unable to escape Guardiola’s imminent arrival, I just stayed in my corner of doubt and caution, patiently waiting. The first friendlies did not inspire me, to tell you the truth. There was a lot of action happening in midfield, then a sprint forward every now and then, but after… a sprint back because no one was there to defend, and counterattacks looked like something that could kick Bayern‘s behind. Frankly, I got a bit scared: Bayern has worked so hard at finding the balance between attacking and defending, and there he was, bringing that style to us…
However, Guardiola took it a step further and put Lahm in midfield. I would not have been surprised if he had been a defensive midfielder, but that was not the case: Lahm got the attacking share of it. Apart from a “that’s weird” feeling, seeing him in that role had a touch of exoticism to it. Slowly but surely, a creepy thought came to my mind… Is that what Guardiola sees him as?
First, it just seems wrong. Lahm = The Defense. This is how the world functions. (He was probably born a defender or something along those lines.) His raids up and down the right (left, if necessary) flank is what I love to see. He is partially responsible for making Bayern’s right wing wing-y. Second, I am not sure if now is the time for making someone take on a new role to which he is not accustomed, although it is an interesting experiment. Surely, he learns and learns fast, but he is not 19 anymore. I do not doubt his abilities, since I believe he has what it takes to succeed at that position as well: he is smart, has the necessary endurance and a firm grasp on the ball. Nevertheless, it seems a bit too much of a reform to me. (So far, in his two matches as a midfielder he scored two goals. While I am certainly excited about it, I would have been just fine without them.) At the same time, it well may be that this is another avenue Lahm must explore and one more domain in which he will excel. In that case, Guardiola would open a new side of Philipp Lahm to the world.
Overall, I think I am going to remain in my corner for now.