Munich - He may have won 11 trophies and racked up close to 300 Bundesliga appearances for FC Bayern Munich, but for captain Philipp Lahm, the 2012/13 campaign is set to be his most iconic yet.
For the first time in his career, Lahm will be the first up to collect the trophy if and when Bayern are presented with their 22nd Bundesliga crown. The photo lenses will also be trained firmly on the Germany skipper should the Bavarians triumph in the DFB Cup or UEFA Champions League too.
It should not be forgotten that the 29-year-old has lifted one trophy with the Reds before - the Supercup against Borussia Dortmund last August. However, taking to the podium in May will represent an altogether more satisfying end to a marathon nine months' hard work, not to mention two years of domestic dominance from Dortmund.
Lahm assumed the Bayern captaincy after the departure of Mark van Bommel in January 2011 and, after a fruitless end to the campaign, the defender could have been forgiven for assuming he would set the record straight the following season - especially given the club's tendency to win the league every two years on average. Alas, Bayern were once again bested by Dortmund, both in league and cup, before losing in heart-breaking fashion to Chelsea in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
However, those painful memories served as a powerful source of motivation this term and Lahm has led Bayern like a man possessed in 2012/13. The Reds have steamrollered all comers in the Bundesliga's 50th campaign, winning 22 of their 26 matches to date and scoring a staggering 69 goals, nine of which have been assisted by the dynamic full-back. Just 11 goals conceded paint a fair picture of Lahm's defensive contribution too.
With eight games remaining, Bayern are now just twelve points shy of Borussia Dortmund's record points haul of 2011/12 and have already registered a whole host of other milestones along the way. Indeed, after Dortmund’s sensational romp to the title last season, Bayern have responded in the best way possible. So much so that Jupp Heynckes’ side are potentially just one win away from officially re-establishing themselves as Germany’s best team.
Yet for all the plaudits that have been thrown the Bavarians’ way this season and all the glamour that comes with being a Bayern player, you rarely get the sense that Lahm and Co. are getting ahead of themselves.
His leadership style may not be as vocal as previous skippers such as van Bommel, Oliver Kahn, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Franz Beckenbauer, but beside his supreme talents as a player and understated competitiveness, he remains one of the game’s true nice guys. Few would begrudge him becoming the first Bayern captain to celebrate an unprecedented treble come the end of the season.