Lahm on brink of 100th cap
Germany captain Philipp Lahm is set to win his 100th cap in the World Cup qualifier against Austria on Friday.
Lahm, 29, won his first cap in 2004, and every one of his 99 appearances has been as a starter.
The Bayern Munich defender is set to reach his senior international century at his home stadium, and he told a press conference in the city on Thursday: “To win my 100th cap in Munich is a nice aspect.
“It is important that we beat Austria, since we want to qualify for the World Cup as soon as possible.”
His first cap came against Croatia in a 2-1 victory for Germany in 2004, and he said this still ranked high in his memory because “I was called up as young player”, thanking the then coach Rudi Voller for his faith in him.
Lahm, who was named as Germany captain before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has set his sights on the next World Cup, saying: “A title is the goal -- preferably in 2014.”
He will become the 11th German to win a century of caps. Lothar Matthaus holds the record for the most Germany appearances, with 150, while Miroslav Klose has 128 and Lukas Podolski 111.
In recent weeks, his current Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has described him as “the most intelligent player I have ever coached”, while ex-boss Jupp Heynckes said he was “the best full-back in Bundesliga history”.
And his Germany and Bayern colleague Bastian Schweinsteiger told Bild: "I believe this triumph [Bayern’s treble-winning campaign last season] is the foundation for an even more successful future in which further great international titles are possible -- maybe even the 2014 World Cup title."