Lahm stays German captain despite book controversy

25 August 2011 06:00

Philipp Lahm will remain Germany captain after he apologised for criticising several ex-national coaches including current boss Joachim Loew, the German Football Federation (DFB) said Thursday.

Germany play Austria in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday September 2 and will book their place at the tournament hosted by the Ukraine and Poland with a victory, but skipper Lahm has landed himself in hot water with team bosses.

In his book -- the Subtle Difference -- he criticises Loew and ex-Germany coaches Rudi Voeller and Jurgen Klinsmann, but the Bayern Munich defender back-tracked Thursday after the DFB summonsed him to a meeting next week.

Lahm has stirred up controversy here after criticising Loew for a lack of team spirit at the Euro 2008 campaign when he labelled the squad a 'feuding bunch' in his book which goes on sale on Monday.

He also criticised Voeller for having the players train for just an hour a day when he coached the Euro 2000 side as Germany failed to make the quarter-finals, saying life under Voeller was "fun, but unstructured".

And Bayern Munich captain Lahm also criticises Klinsmann, the current USA coach, for ignoring tactics during his brief tenure as Bayern coach before he was sacked in 2009, leaving senior Bayern players to decide how to play.

Ex-Bayern coaches Felix Magath and Louis van Gaal also come in for fire in Lahm's book.

"Of course, I did not want to attack or offend Rudi Voeller, Jurgen Klinsmann and other people (mentioned in the book)," Lahm said in a statement.

"Rather I wanted, as is clear from reading my book, to portray my honest opinion about the work under different coaches and at different times."

Loew has said he is unhappy about Lahm's portrayal of life in the German camp.

"There are a few passages in the book which I don't like, because here we have a young player openly criticising his trainer after they have worked together successfully for a long time," said Loew.

"We will talk about this together next week."

Lahm took over the captaincy of Germany in 2010 after injury to Michael Ballack and led the team to third at the World Cup in South Africa as well as in the 3-2 friendly victory over Brazil on August 10.

"We want mature players to make their opinions known, however in this case, Philipp has over-stepped the mark," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Bierhoff confirmed that after DFB bosses read the entire book, taking the captaincy away from Lahm was not considered, despite speculation in the German media.

But Lahm has done himself a disservice by publicly criticising key figures in the game here, especially as extracts from his book have been printed in daily newspaper Bild.

"One can only be glad when you're not in the same side as Philipp Lahm, because you do not know what will be published in the next five years," Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt told German magazine Kicker.

And Hoffenheim coach Holger Stanislawski was just as unimpressed.

"It is inconceivable to me when people talk so negatively about colleagues," he said.

"It seems people who do things like that have too much free time or their own life is too boring."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0