At 19, with Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol firmly ensconced in the full-back positions, Lahm moved to VfB Stuttgart on a two-year loan deal and soon established himself as the team's No 1 choice at left-back.
Archetypal modern full-back
In 2005, with more than 50 Bundesliga appearances and a first taste of UEFA Champions League action under his belt, Lahm returned to Munich. Injury problems prevented him making his Bundesliga debut for the German record champions until the end of the year, but since then he has not looked back.
As well as winning league and DFB Cup doubles with Bayern in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014, the diminutive, consistent and extremely versatile player has helped them to three Champions League finals, of which two ended in defeat against Inter Milan in 2010 and, devastatingly, on home turf in a penalty shoot-out against Chelsea in 2012.
Trophies thick and fast
Long established as one of the team's on-field leaders, Lahm was handed the club captaincy at the start of 2011, and he eventually got his hands on his first trophy as Bayern skipper in 2013 as Bayern blitzed their way to an unprecedented Bundesliga, DFL Supercup, German Cup and UEFA Champions League quadruple.
Lahm went on to make history also with Germany, earning his 100th cap in a FIFA World Cup qualifiying win over Austria in September 2013, before captaining Bayern to success in the FIFA Club World Cup the same year, performances that also saw him earn a place in the 2013 FIFA FIFPro World XI.
For a man who grew up on the left-hand side of the defence and then switched to the right, his latest move into the midfield, perpetuated under Pep Guardiola in the 2013/14 season serves to underline the player's versatility. Regarded by many as the best full-back of his generation, Lahm is now taking equally many plaudits for his performances just in front of the back line.
Lahm fulfilled both roles under Joachim Löw's guidance during Germany's historic win at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but is now focusing fully on picking up even more trophies for Bayern after announcing his retirement from international football. Put him in any position and Lahm will perform, a guarantee that has made him a legend of the his sport and seen him reach the pinnacle of the game, captaining a side to World Cup glory.