Philipp Lahm: Bayern Munich not at fault for Bundesliga domination
Philipp Lahm has bemoaned the lack of competition in the Bundesliga this season, and said Bayern Munich's large budget was not the only reason for their 13-point lead at the top of the table.
Lahm blamed prominent clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Wolfsburg for failing to produce a challenge.
"The financial situation in the league wasn't that different in the years we finished second and fourth," he told stern magazine.
"I don't think Bayern Munich alone is responsible for how good we are doing. If we are 13 points clear after 25 games, it means that other well-positioned clubs like Schalke or Wolfsburg haven't performed consistently well.
"Borussia Dortmund are an unbelievably talented team who could have made the Bundesliga title race a lot closer. Although you have to say the rest of the Bundesliga lacks quality."
The 33-year-old, who has won seven Bundesliga titles and the Champions League with Bayern, will retire at the end of the season with the feeling of "maxing out his career," and said: "I can still handle most situations on the pitch, but not with the same regularity that I used to."
Asked about his successor as Bayern captain, Lahm backed Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer as ideal candidates rather than buying a ready-made replacement.
"It doesn't work when you buy a new player, telling him to carry the team and hold everything together," he said. "Growing up with the club and flourishing with it is the most important thing."
Lahm was expected to take up a position as Bayern's sporting director upon his retirement but said president Uli Hoeness' presence at the club has been a factor in him deciding to turn the role down.
Lahm said Hoeness wasn't quite ready to hand over sufficient control to him in the organisation of Bayern team affairs, but he had no problem with that.
"Generally, you can only influence things in and around the team when you hold that responsibility," Lahm said.
"I think Uli Hoeness is too energetic -- too young -- to let go. He still wants to influence things himself. And he has every right to do that, he is chairman of Bayern's supervisory board and has achieved incredible things for the club."
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.