The Subtle Difference: Chapter IV – Part II

It has been one year since die Mannschaft won the World Cup. What a glorious day that was! I vividly remember how nervous I was, how happy I was. I cannot even imagine how it would have felt if they had lost. So, cheers to the team and the staff, and to us all! I am going to celebrate by posting another bit from Lahm’s book.

The usual disclaimer: since I do not want it to be printed out and used in that form for any purpose, I will omit certain sentences, or at times a whole paragraph, when translating. I will try my best not to throw away anything important. There is no gain, financial or otherwise, for me in doing this project. I simply believe that Lahm deserves to be heard. Therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much I as did.

Chapter IV – Part I

First and foremost, there is a question of where I should get an operation. My current employer is VfB Stuttgart. These people in charge want me to get an operation in Stuttgart. At the same time, I know I will come back to Bayern in the summer; hence, notifying FC Bayern is definitely not wrong. I call Roman, my agent. He informs FC Bayern. Coincidentally, he knows an orthopedic specialist in Salzburg. “There we’ll take a look at your foot before making any decisions”, Roman says. Suddenly, the problem feels differently, solvable. […]

We go to Salzburg; Roman is driving (while) I’m in the passenger seat. […] In the meantime, I’ve educated myself on mid-foot fatigue fractures. Some doctors recommend an immediate operation; some settle on self-recovery by the means of rest and time.

[…] Every coach wants to have healthy players. Professionals know that they will probably lose their regular spot if they are injured and out. Perhaps the coach changes the formation and is more successful with it than before. Perhaps the substitute delivers such strong performances that he, as a result, is firmer in the saddle than the player whom he has replaced. A football team is a complicated, dynamic structure, there are no certainties. I myself – I think of it with an unpleasant aftertaste – slipped into the first team at VfB Stuttgart only because of another player’s injury.

Thus, many players defend themselves against being injured. As long as the physiotherapist can make their troubles vanish for the duration of the game, whether with magic hands or by grabbing something from the medicine bag, they go on, as if they were healthy. Long-term permanent injuries are regarded as collateral damage.

I don’t think that way. If I’m injured, I’m injured. Then the next match is no longer my goal. Then I must no longer pay attention to the team but to myself. Then I work with full force to become healthy as fast as possible. That includes being aware that the body gets the time it needs for healing.

The orthopedic specialist from Salzburg, Dr. Artur Trost, looks at my foot and at the pictures I’ve brought with me. He utters only three sentences about my foot’s particular condition before drawing his conclusion, “I would operate on it.”

We drive back to Munich. Roman is on the phone with Uli Hoeneß. Uli Hoeneß wants Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt to examine the injury. FC Bayern’s longtime doctor sends me to Dr. Ludwig Seebauer in Munich.

Hence, it’s clear for me what I will do. The rest is diplomacy because, first, VfB Stuttgart has to approve my decision to let Dr. Seebauer operate in Munich. However, it’s part of a player’s responsibility to bring about decisions in a way that he wants them to take place. After all, it’s about my bones, my future.

Every player has the right to let himself be treated by the doctor whom he trusts. At least in theory.

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


Lahm, Philipp. Der feine Unterschied: Wie man heute Spitzenfußballer wird. Munich: Kunstmann, 2011.



  1. Well done, please dont stop, plz plz
    We are all with you !!

    1. unavis · · Reply

      Wow! You’re surely fast! :))

  2. Thank you so much for this! You are amazing!

    1. unavis · · Reply

      Thank you for leaving a comment :)

  3. Thanks for this chapter! I’ve checked this blog regularly for the update :)

    1. unavis · · Reply

      Thanks for commenting :)

  4. Thanks for the effort of translating this! I was very surprised to find out there is no official English version available.Luckily I found your blog :-)

    1. You’re very welcome! :) Thank you for leaving a comment!

  5. lahm1234 · · Reply

    I’ve tried to find the book both in my country and when I visited Greece and I couldn’t find it. I tried to find it online and I couldn’t find it. At one point, I found these translations and read them all, and I’m looking forward to the new chapters. You’ve done a really good job, thank you for the dedication you’ve put into it. Keep up, good luck!

    1. Hi :)

      Thank you very much for leaving a comment. I appreciate it :)

  6. Priya Dhawka · · Reply

    Thank you soooo much for translating this!! Philipp is an inspiration and so are you, for the work you do!

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment! :)

  7. fearlesskiki · · Reply

    I just found out about this and thank you for the translation! I’m screaming! You know, it means so much to all of us that couldn’t understand German. Will you continue to translate it?

    1. Hi :)

      Thank you for leaving a comment. With regard to the translation, I might continue. I’m not quite sure at the moment.

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