Captain Philipp Lahm has said he is relishing making his 100th appearance for Germany “in his own backyard” for today’s World Cup qualifier against Austria.
The Bayern Munich right-back will become only the eighth international to bring up the key milestone for the German Football Federation (DFB) and will be doing so on home turf at the Allianz Arena, home of the Bavarian giants.
“It really has come together incredibly well,” said Lahm, with Germany five points clear in Group C and the top teams from the nine European groups going through to the World Cup next June in Brazil.
“It’s a special match, and I’m privileged to be playing it in my own backyard, as it were, which is fantastic. “My family will be there, lots of my friends are coming, and plenty of acquaintances.”
One noticeable statistic from Lahm’s career is that since his debut against Croatia in February 2004 he has made the starting line-up for each of his 99 appearances.
Lahm is in good company alongside the likes of other greats Lothar Matthaeus, who won 150 caps for Germany, plus current internationals Miroslav Klose (128) and Lukas Podolski (111).
Germany’s World Cup winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer is another famous name having made 103 appearances in the famous white shirt.
“When I look back to the past and see how many outstanding players didn’t make it to 100 caps, Gerd Mueller or Uwe Seeler for example, you realise it’s definitely special when you make it there yourself,” added Lahm.
“For almost ten years now, Philipp Lahm has epitomised consistency, reliability and the highest standards in the national team,” said national coach Joachim Loew.
“He has natural authority, he accepts responsibility, he communicates well, and despite our flat hierarchy in the national team, he’s an undisputed leader. It’s very special for him to be winning his 100th cap right here in his home city of Munich.”
Even Lahm’s Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who took charge in June, has only the highest praise. “Philipp Lahm is for me the smartest player I’ve ever coached in my career.
I’m glad to be here (at Bayern) just because I can train him. He’s on another level,” said Guardiola, significant given his four years at Barcelona with stars Lionel Messi, Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.