Munich - He’s been FC Bayern München’s Mr. Consistent for over a decade, but still there is no satisfying club captain ’s thirst for success.
'We want to make the finals again'
The 30-year-old collected five of his 16 club trophies over the course of the last year alone and fully intends to add to his lavish personal bounty in 2014.
"Obviously a repeat of last year is almost impossible, especially in the ensuing year, but we want to get back to exactly where we were before," Lahm explained in part two of an exclusive interview on the record German champions’ official website. "We want to make the finals again and we want more trophies, but we know it’s going to be a big ask."
Lahm, though, has never been one to shirk a challenge. Back in 2003, aged 19 at the time and down the pecking order at Bayern, the Munich native traded his familial surrounds, albeit on a loan basis, for south-west outfit VfB Stuttgart. Two edifying years later, he returned to his hometown club, supplanting World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu from his regular seat in the back four. He has scarcely endured a bad day since.
'Technically gifted and versatile'
Indeed, judging by Lahm’s seamless transition from right-back to defensive midfield under Pep Guardiola during the first half of 2013/14, it seems there is simply nothing whatsoever that fazes the 22-time Bundesliga winners’ favourite son. "I have the skills you need to play in the position," he explained. "I suppose you still have central defenders and a handful of strikers with a different style of play, but full-backs, holding midfielders, inside forwards, playmakers and wide players are all extremely flexible, smart, technically gifted and versatile - myself included."
The 104-time Germany international has forged a strong bond with his new coach, who went as far as dubbing his multipurpose skipper "the most intelligent player I have ever coached" earlier in the campaign. "It was a huge compliment, especially considering all the great players he’s coached in his time," beamed Lahm. "We speak about everything. He’s always easy to talk to when you have something on your mind or want to make a suggestion."
'We need to dominate'
Together, the Catalan master and his Bavarian grasshopper have helped propel Bayern to even dizzier heights during the back end of 2013, but Lahm believes the recently crowned are not quite the finished article just yet. "We need to dominate the opposition for the full 90 minutes in even more matches," he continued. "We saw what’s possible away to Manchester City FC and [Bayer 04] Leverkusen. We need more performances like those."
On 5 January, Lahm and his colleagues travel to Doha for a spot of fine winter tuning ahead of the Bundesliga restart. In the meantime, Bayern’s ever-present leader can enjoy a few more days’ downtime, safe in the knowledge that the reigning Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, DFB Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Champions will yet again be the team to beat in the year ahead.