The Bavarian giants have an embarrassment of riches in midfield – further strengthened by the marquee singing of former Juventus star Arturo Vidal – and Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has hinted that captain Philipp Lahm might play more in his natural full-back role.
The natural technical ability and intelligence of Bayern Munich and former Germany captain Philipp Lahm has seen him occupy several positions for club and country including either full-back position, a wing-back role as well as frequent appearances in midfield under Pep Guardiola.
The sheer volume of central midfielders at Guardiola’s disposal, however, could see the Bayern Munich captain return to his natural position at right-back during the coming season, where he will compete with Rafinha for a position in the starting line-up.
Guardiola reiterates Lahm importance to Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola spoke to the German press ahead of the Bavarians’ meeting with Wolfsburg in the DFL-Supercup on Saturday, and emphasized the importance of Lahm to his Bayern Munich side.
“I have said it many times that Lahm is our most important player,” the former Barcelona manager is quoted as saying by ESPN FC. “He is one of the most intelligent players I have ever coached.”
The Spaniard also addressed a question regarding the role his most important player would be occupying in the coming season.
Philipp Lahm could see more time at full-back this season – Pep Guardiola [!!!] http://t.co/oUEbLxG5vp
a dembowski (@uersfeld) July 31, 2015
“We only have one right-back, Rafinha,” Guardiola said. “[Lahm] will play in midfield one day, but also compete with Rafinha the other. I am delighted to see him play in midfield. He reads the game well. But he has a lot of competition in midfield.”
Lahm versatility could help prolong career
The diminutive defender surprised the world by opting to retire from international football following Germany’s 2014 World Cup win in Brazil – a decision that could help him prolong his career with Bayern Munich. His versatility, however, could also contribute greatly to that effect.
The 31-year-old has several good years of football left in him, and could move permanently to midfield in the medium to long term given his positional intelligence and technical brilliance. Although he isn’t as physically imposing as the likes of Xabi Alonso, his ability on the ball could make him a quality deep-lying play-maker for Bayern Munich.
Guardiola is right when he says Philipp Lahm is his most important player. The German is arguably one of the greatest footballers of his generation, and despite being on the wrong side of 30, could still achieve success at the highest level for a few seasons to come.