Lahm tipped to break Matthaeus record
Franz Beckenbauer has praised Germany captain Philipp Lahm and tipped him to break Lothar Matthaeus' record of international appearances for the country.
Bayern Munich and Germany skipper Lahm is set to win his 103rd cap against Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday night and draw level with Beckenbauer, who clocked up 103 caps between 1965 and 1977.
Der Kaiser made his Germany debut in a World Cup qualifier in Stockholm on September 26, 1965, with a 2-1 win that day securing qualification for the 1966 World Cup. Germany went on to reach the final, famously losing 4-2 after extra time against the Three Lions.
Beckenbauer said that it was indeed a bit “peculiar” that Lahm will draw level with him in the Swedish capital.
“I can personally only congratulate Philipp for surpassing 100 caps,” he told the German federation's official website. “Of course, the national team plays more matches than back in the day. But his rise to the century club is down to his special playing style. With his fleet-footedness and his good eye, with his great overview and his intelligence he stays away from injury troubles."
The former sweeper -- who twice won the Ballon d'Or and lifted the World Cup with West Germany as both a player and coach -- believes that Lahm “embodies everything you need for a high number of caps” and could now be out to break the all-time Germany record of 150 senior appearances, currently held by Matthaeus.
“Lahm looks back on a fantastic career with FC Bayern and the Germany team," Beckenbauer said. "But most of all, at 29 years old, he still has many successful years ahead of him. I trust him to become the Germany record player in the next four years. If anyone can break the Matthaeus record, then it is Lahm -- a real leader and role model”.
Beckenbauer added that the most striking thing about Lahm is that he can play on every position bar in goal.
“He’s just too small for that,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know any player who for years has constantly been playing on such a high level. Not a single one.”