Philipp Lahm

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Philipp Lahm calls quits on tremendous Bayern Munich career

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Few players get to play for their hometown side, and even fewer are able to do so for the entirety of their playing career.

[ MORE: Bundesliga drama on final day of 2016/17 season ]

Philipp Lahm managed to do both while with Bayern Munich, and Saturday it was time for the veteran defender to call it the end of his storied career with the German giants.

Lahm and his Bayern side ended their 2016/17 Bundesliga-winning season in style on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Freiburg, but with the league already won prior to kickoff, the momentous occasion was more about reflection for the 33-year-old Munich native.

“I definitely have mixed feelings at the moment, celebrating with the lads for the last time,” Lahm told Sky Deutschland following his final match.

“It’s an emotional day. I’ve experienced so much,” he continued.

For the better part of 16 years, Lahm has graced the pitch for Bayern as one of the club’s most sturdy and creative defenders despite his diminutive size. The outside back appeared over 500 matches for the 27-time German champions and captained the club since 2011.

Additionally, Lahm was a staple of the Germany national team throughout his storied career, making 113 appearances for his country, including traveling to three World Cups — with the 2014 edition resulting in a victory over Argentina in the final.

“It was my life being on the pitch and I especially enjoyed the times together with the team and the staff,” Lahm said.

“I’ll miss that of course. I’m looking forward to the time after but today it’s certain that it’s my last time with such a collective. I’ve always seen football as a big collective, setting goals for the fans and the staff. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most later.

“The past few days I had lots of distractions and training but today is very emotional. It’s very touching when teammates thank me for the time together.

“I am lucky to have been blessed by so many nice moments not just with the team but with the staff and the fans too. It was simply unbelievable.

European Cups roundup: Barca into Copa final; Bayern reach semis

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A roundup of Tuesday’s action in the Copa del Rey semifinals and DFB-Pokal quarterfinals…

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — It’s all a mess behind Chelsea ]

Barcelona 1-1 (3-2) Atletico Madrid

Barcelona are through to their 39th Copa del Rey final, where they’ll play for their record 29th Spanish Cup triumph, following a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday (3-2 on aggregate). Luis Suarez fired Barca to a 3-1 aggregate lead just before halftime, at which point Luis Enrique’s side was cruising to a smooth, painless progression. Sergi Roberto was sent off in the 57th minute, though, as was Atleti’s Yannick Carrasco in the 69th minute, making the result all the more straightforward, or so we thought.

Atleti won a penalty in the 80th minute, only to see Kevin Gameiro’s effort glance off the crossbar and head for the stands behind the goal. Gameiro tapped home a brilliant ball from Antoine Griezmann three minutes later, though, to bring the visitors to within a goal of sending the tie to extra time. Luis Suarez was booked once in the 87th minute, then shown a straight red card for an elbow to the head of Koke in the 90th minute — which means he’ll be suspended for the final — forcing Barca to see out the game with nine men. That’s what we call making life unnecessarily difficult.

The Blaugrana will go into the May 27 final as massive favorites, as they’ll face the winner of Wednesday’s second semifinal second leg, between Alaves and Celta Vigo, which is currently all square at 0-0.

[ MORE: Philipp Lahm will retire this summer, at 33 ]


Bayern Munich 1-0 Wolfsburg

Douglas Costa scored the game’s only goal, as Carlo Ancelotti opted to field a full-strength side with critical Bundesliga games either side of Tuesday’s Cup quarterfinal. Philipp Lahm made his 501st appearance for the club — he was honored for his 500th, achieved over the weekend, prior to the game — and then it was reported by German newspaper Sport Bild that the 33-year-old will retire at the end of the season. Bayern are through to the semifinals, which puts them two games from (likely) sending the German legend out a double (at least) winner (again).

Hamburg 2-0 Kolk

Hamburg currently sit 16th of 18 teams in the Bundesliga (relegation playoff place), but they’re through to the semifinals of the German Cup after a 2-0 home win over Koln, which was capped off by the seventh goal of the season for U.S. national team striker Bobby Wood. (WATCH HERE) The last time Hamburg lifted a major domestic trophy, the date was June 20, 1987 (Cup).

Full DFB-Pokal scoreboard

Greuther Fuerth 0-2 Borussia Monchengladbach
FCA Walldorf 1-1 (4-5 PKs) Arminia Bielefeld

Philipp Lahm will retire this summer, at 33

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UPDATE: Lahm has since confirmed that he will retire at season’s end.

Philipp Lahm will call full-time on his professional footballing career at the end of the 2016-17 season, according to a report by German newspaper Sport Bild.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood is closing in on back-to-back 15-goal seasons ]

The Bayern Munich and German national team legend almost certainly leave the game the same way he’s spent much of his 15-year career: a champion, as Bayern currently sit four points clear of RB Leipzig in their bid for a fifth straight Bundesliga title. There’s also the 2014 World Cup won in Brazil (after which he retired from the international game), the UEFA Champions League won in 2013, the other three Bundesliga titles which came prior to this half-decade of dominance, six DFB-Pokal (German Cup) triumphs, and a what’s what list of individual awards from the last decade.

Really, the only major club or international competition Lahm never won was the European Championship, for which he has a runners-up medal from the 2008 tournament.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — It’s all a mess behind Chelsea ]

At the age of 33, Lahm goes out on his own terms, as one of Germany’s all-time greats.

There are additional numbers that tell the story of Lahm’s legendary career, they’re simply staggering: 500 games played for Bayern; 113 appearances for Germany; 21 major trophies won (club and country); and, perhaps the unlikeliest of them all: zero red cards.

Bundesliga wrap: Another day, another goal (or three) for Chicharito

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A roundup of all the day’s action on Chicharito’s personal playground in Germany’s top flight, the Bundesliga…

[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]

Bayern Munich 2-0 Ingolstadt

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, which should once again be crowned Bundesliga champions by early April, rode second-half goals scored by Robert Lewandowski (65th minute – below video) — what, you’re surprised? — and Philipp Lahm (75th minute) to re-establish an eight-point lead (43 points) atop the league table, with second-place Borussia Dortmund still to play on Sunday.

Darmstadt 0-4 Hertha Berlin

Which side is easily the biggest surprise of the current Bundesliga season? Easy answer: third-place Hertha Berlin, who hammered 12th-place Darmstadt 4-0 on Saturday. Vedad Ibisevic bagged a brace (12th and 50th minutes) to go along with single tallies from Marvin Plattenhardt (26th) and ex-Chelsea man Salomon Kalou (77th). U.S. national team defender John Brooks started the game and played all 90 minutes for the victors, his fifth-straight game playing all 90 minutes.

Wolfsburg 1-1 Hamburg

In the race for the UEFA Champions League, Wolfsburg leapfrogged Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, despite a disappointing home draw with Hamburg, thanks to Bayer Leverkusen’s dismantling of Gladbach in the day’s final game. Nicolai Muller put the visitors on top after 21 minutes, but Maximilian Arnold equalized for Wolfsburg in the 78th minute to prevent back-to-back league defeats for Dieter Hecking’s side.

Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

You read the headline — Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored a hat trick for Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. This is just about the least surprising news you’re bound to hear all weekend — in his last 12 games for Leverkusen, the Mexican national team star has scored 15 goals (all competitions), now including five in the last three. Saturday’s hat trick came in a 13-minute span from minutes 63 to 76 and included goals in back-to-back minutes in the 75th and 76th. With the victory, Leverkusen climb up to sixth in the league table, just two points behind Wolfsburg for the fourth and final Champions League place.

Anyway, let’s go ahead and roll the footage…

The quality of those goals, particularly the first two. Speaking of which, it sure was nice of Manchester United to ship Hernandez off to Germany, seeing as how they have so many red-hot goalscorers of their own right now. He’d surely not be able to help them one bit these days.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

Werder Bremen 1-1 Koln
Hoffenheim 1-0 Hannover

Sunday’s Bundesliga schedule

Augsburg vs. Schalke (9:30 a.m. ET)
Borussia Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (11:30 a.m. ET)

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 16 14 1 1 45 8 37 9-0-0 5-1-1 43
Borussia Dortmund 15 11 2 2 42 20 22 6-1-0 5-1-2 35
Hertha BSC Berlin 16 9 2 5 24 18 6 5-1-1 4-1-4 29
VfL Wolfsburg 16 7 5 4 25 18 7 6-2-1 1-3-3 26
Mönchengladbach 16 8 2 6 31 28 3 5-1-2 3-1-4 26
Bayer Leverkusen 16 7 3 6 24 20 4 4-2-2 3-1-4 24
FSV Mainz 05 16 7 3 6 23 21 2 4-1-4 3-2-2 24
FC Schalke 04 15 7 3 5 21 21 0 4-2-2 3-1-3 24
Hamburger SV 16 6 4 6 19 22 -3 2-2-3 4-2-3 22
1. FC Köln 16 5 6 5 16 20 -4 2-4-2 3-2-3 21
FC Ingolstadt 04 16 5 5 6 11 17 -6 2-2-3 3-3-3 20
Darmstadt 16 4 6 6 15 23 -8 1-4-4 3-2-2 18
Werder Bremen 16 4 3 9 16 30 -14 1-1-6 3-2-3 15
Eintracht Frankfurt 15 3 5 7 18 23 -5 1-3-3 2-2-4 14
Hannover 96 16 4 2 10 18 28 -10 2-0-5 2-2-5 14
FC Augsburg 15 3 4 8 18 25 -7 1-2-5 2-2-3 13
1899 Hoffenheim 16 2 7 7 17 24 -7 1-4-3 1-3-4 13
VfB Stuttgart 16 3 3 10 19 36 -17 2-1-5 1-2-5 12

The FIFA FIFPro World XI revealed; Germany leads the way with three

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One of the first happenings at the Ballon D’Or gala on Monday was the unveiling of the FIFA FIFPro World XI, and it’s no surprise that World Cup champion Germany has a trio of players representing club and/or country

Manuel Neuer is between the sticks for this imaginary team after leading Germany and Bayern Munich to championships last season, and he’s joined by his club and countrymate Philipp Lahm on the squad. Bayern’s Arjen Robben is one of the 4-3-3 formation’s three up top

[ FIFA: Wambach meets with Valcke over TurfGate ]

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and club teammate Toni Kroos of Germany are, of course, joined by Cristiano Ronaldo, while Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta represent Barcelona.

Meanwhile, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, now together at Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain are on the list, with current Manchester United midfielder Angel Di Maria.

Notable snubs include Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, as well as Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo.

FIFA FIFPro World XI
GOALKEEPER: Manuel Neuer
DEFENDERS: Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, David Luiz, Thiago Silva
MIDFIELDERS: Angel Di Maria, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta
FORWARDS: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben.

By current club
Real Madrid – 3
Bayern Munich – 3
Barcelona – 2
Paris Saint-Germain – 2
Manchester United – 1

By national team
Germany – 3
Brazil – 2
Argentina – 2
Spain – 2
Portugal – 1
Netherlands – 1