Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich

The news was important enough to be included in all the major news programs in German television on Tuesday evening. Not only for fans of the 2016 German Champion Bayern Munich, defender and midfielder Philipp Lahm’s announcement that he will retire at the end of the current season was an unpleasant late evening surprise.

Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich
In the first place, it was bad news for Bayern Munich’s leaders such as CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and President and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Uli Hoeness.

While Lahm and Bayern progressed to the quarterfinal of the German cup after a 1-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg, both the future of the club captain and the club itself were left in doubt. Lahm’s announcement comes at a difficult time for the team and coach Carlo Ancelotti. After criticism of his training and tactics, the Italian’s future depends on the outcome of the 2016/2017 Champions League campaign.

As both Rummenigge and Hoeness will retire in 2019, Bayern Munich is simultaneously facing a fundamental restructuring to pave the way for the future. Additionally, the club’s aged squad will soon require some new blood. Both Bayern’s leaders have for some time been trying to find appropriate successors and Lahm was one of the serious candidates what with his Bavarian identity and international experience.

Both Hoeness and Rummenigge were caught with their pants down by Lahm after his 501st game for Bayern. While Hoeness said on TV that no decision had been made and Rummenigge talked about a candidate “that would be coming to us,” Lahm and his management came out into the open.

Lahm’s drastic move was presumably made because Bayern, in the person of Hoeness, was not willing to offer Lahm a seat on the club’s executive board which would mean more power and influence than just an ordinary director of football. Hoeness and Rummenigge are said to have different opinions when it comes to the responsibilities for a new director of football.

Hoeness, who is back in charge at Bayern after serving time in prison for evading taxes is said to be fuming mad about Lahm and his management. Amongst fans and the public, the club’s management appears to have been ill-prepared in its dealings with one of its prized assets. The Bayern president criticized Lahm saying, “You are either a good director of sports or you are not. It does not depend on being a member of the club board as well.”

As now Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Director of Sport, Max Eberl, is presumably the man most likely to follow Matthias Sammer, who resigned due to health reasons. The turbulence created by Lahm’ s decision could well affect Bayern’s performance this season. “We are nervous after the latest not fully convincing performances of our team,” Hoeness said as the team faces tow difficult knock-out games in the Champions League against Arsenal.

“I have decided to end my career this summer one year before my contract ends. I also informed the club that I will not accept the clubs offer regarding the job as director of football,” Lahm said before continuing. “I can continue with my leadership style, giving my best every day, in every training, until the end of the season. I can keep doing it this season but not beyond. ”
As a footballer, Philipp Lahm stood for German efficiency but was far from being a genius. The 33-year old is basically a totally reliable passing-machine and was able to find solutions with the ball when others had to give up. Lahm was maybe the world’s best right-back as well as a top-class midfielder.

Years ago, Bayern Munich’ s current assistant coach Hermann Gerland said Lahm’ s outstanding talent was already obvious in his early years growing up in Munich. Lahm was already obsessed by football when in kindergarten and at school. His mother Daniela in a way was the sufferer as she had to be her son’ s personal goalkeeper when the youngster decided he needed practice in the concrete driveway of their home in the Munich suburb of Gern.

Lahm’s path onto the stage of world’s top footballers was accompanied by several surprising decisions. Right after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and 113 caps for Germany Lahm retired from the national team revealing he had carefully thought about this step for over a year. Lahm said: “I want to be the one who makes the decisions for myself instead of others.”

After Germany’s former captain Michael Ballack missed the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Lahm saw his chance to take over as the team’s leader. He more or less pushed Ballack aside and did not leave any doubt that he wanted to keep the post. His first game as captain came in 2009 when he replaced the injured Ballack in a friendly against China in Shanghai.

Lahm’s career was always carefully planned by himself and his management team always carefully planned his career. He was prepared to accept the consequences – a 50,000 Euro fine – for publicly criticizing the club’s policy. On the other hand, it increased his reputation and standing as a leader.

Off the pitch in the past few years, Lahm has embarked on a career as a businessman and is a shareholder in five companies. Enditem

Source: Oliver Trust, Xinhua/


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