and feverishly jersey | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » General » General Chat
Friday 20 June 2006 and 66,000 people, mostly clad in Germany colours, have packed into Munich’s shiny new Allianz Arena on a warm evening to watch the first match of the World Cup. The crowd is bouncing, buoyed by the home team’s tenacious start and still drawing breath following a 30-yard shot from Thorsten Frings that narrowly missed the net. Noise levels begin to swell again as Philipp Lahm picks up a loose ball wide on the left. He is faced with two Costa Rica defenders. Bastian Schweinsteiger is offering the overlap, but Lahm drops his right shoulder and shifts the ball inside quickly with his right foot, leaving Danny Fonseca on his backside. The Costa Rica player lands heavily and, as he glances over his shoulder, the next thing he sees is Lahm opening up his body and winding back his right foot. Lahm blasts the ball past everyone in the area and into the top right corner, the ball kissing the post on its way in. Six minutes in, and the first chapter of Germany’s Sommerm?rchen has been written. Lahm was an instrumental and respected footballer but, even in that moment, as he scored the opening goal at a World Cup in his home city, few of the millions watching would have predicted just how important he would become for his club and country over the next decade. Born in Munich 33 years ago, Lahm began his long career with Bayern when he joined the youth team in 1995 from local club FT Gern München. Having started life as a forward, Lahm soon found his home as a full-back, mostly operating on the left. Despite being an obvious talent, his path into Bayern’s first team was blocked by two formidable French defenders, Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol. So the one-club man began his career on loan at another club, a short hop from Bavaria Adidas Dominik Hasek Authentic Jersey to Baden-Württemberg. A year in the life of Marco Russ: a failed drugs test, cancer and a hero's return Read more Hermann Gerland, now Carlo Ancelotti’s right-hand man, was then in charge of the Bayern reserves and felt Lahm was too good to play with his team in the third division, so he recommended him to VfB Stuttgart manager Felix Magath, who duly organised a two-year loan deal. After making his Bundesliga debut on the opening day of the 2003-04 season, Lahm soon became Stuttgart’s first-choice left-back. Aside from a couple of injuries, his time in Stuttgart was a success. He returned to Munich having made 53 appearances in the Bundesliga and picked up some Champions League experience. Loan moves do not always work out, but Lahm’s stint on the banks of the river Neckar paid dividends for all parties involved, not least Bayern, who suddenly had a new full-back, and a German international to boot. Lahm’s form in Stuttgart had catapulted him into the senior Germany squad, where he soon claimed ownership of the left-back slot. He had won 15 caps for his country before his Bayern Munich career had properly begun. It would have been more but for an injury sustained towards the end of his loan spell, which not only temporarily curtailed his international progression but also delayed his long-awaited Bundesliga debut for his parent club. Eventually, Lahm took to the pitch for Bayern in November 2005 and established himself as the club’s left-back, ushering Lizarazu into retirementAs with the majority of players of Lahm’s generation, winning the World Cup in Brazil has to be seen as the pinnacle, but it was the 2006 tournament on home soil that elevated Germany back on to the world stage after their dour showing at Euro 2004, where they were knocked out at the group stage without winning a game. And it was at this hotly anticipated and feverishly supported tournament that this unassuming and unspectacular player made perhaps his most famous contribution. His opening goal lit up an emotional summer that brought back some national pride and Adidas Jason Demers Jersey touched German society well beyond the confines of football