Philipp Lahm (born 11 November 1983) is a German professional footballer who plays as a full backor defensive midfielder for Bayern Munich and formerly for the German national team. He is the captain of his club, having skippered them to numerous honours including the 2013 UEFA Champions League as part of the Treble. He is also a former captain of his national team, which he led to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, before retiring from international football. Lahm is considered by many to be one of the best full backs of his
generation, and was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010, the UEFA Team of the Tournament in 2008 and 2012 and in the UEFA Team of the Year 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Although Lahm is right footed, he is able to play on both sides of the pitch. He often cuts from the flank to the inside of the pitch to either shoot or pass. He is renowned for his pace, dribbling and precise tackling abilities as well as his small stature, giving him the nickname the "Magic Dwarf".
Lahm started his international career in the U 19 national team. He was part of the team that won silver for Germany in the 2002 U 19 European championship playing in all games in the final tournament and scoring a crucial goal in the 90th minute (2–3) against England in a game that ended 3–3. Afterwards he played a few U 20 and U21 matches for Germany before impressing Rudi Voller enough to hand the youngster his debut on 18 February 2004, at 20 years of age. His first game was a 2–1 win over Croatia, where he played the full 90 minutes and was chosen as the man of the match by German
football magazine Kicker. He was also part of Germany's team in UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal and played full 90 minutes in all three games. Although Germany did not make it past the group stage, Lahm's performance was considered very promising and many German papers saw this as the sole positive aspect in Germany's lack of accomplishment in the tournament. Lahm missed more than a year of international football between January 2005 and March 2006 due to injuries (stress-fracture on foot and a torn cruciate ligament), including the Confed Cup 2005, but after his recovery he immediately made it back to the starting line-up. Even though he injured his elbow in a friendly game right before the 2006 FIFA World Cup and thus had to wear a special cast on his left arm, Jurgen Klinsmann still chose him as first option for the left back position. He scored the first goal in the opening game of the World Cup in Germany against Costa Rica in the sixth minute, cutting inside the area and launching a right foot shot into the top-right corner of the net. He was awarded Man of the Match for his performance in the second group game against Poland. He was also the only German player to play the complete 690 minutes of the World Cup and was also elected to the All Star Team of the tournament.
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