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Lahm: Players have to leave the Bundesliga to become world class

Bayern legend Philipp Lahm has praised Xabi Alonso in the highest terms – and at the same time criticised the approach of many other Bundesliga teams. This would lead to many players having to move abroad in order to reach world-class level. Joshua Kimmich is also a victim of this development.

Bayer Leverkusen is playing an outstanding season – not only in terms of results, but also in terms of play. The Werkself are unbeaten in 46 matches in all competitions and impress with dynamic possession football and a stable defence.

For Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso is the decisive factor in Leverkusen’s success story. He stands out from the rest of German football because he has a different idea of football.

„In other countries, especially with Spanish and Italian coaches, the focus is on structure and order. In German football, it’s always about mentality,“ explained Lahm in his column for Die Zeit.

This approach makes it difficult for highly talented players to optimise their personal development. That’s why players like Jude Bellingham, Kai Havertz and Erling Haaland have to leave the Bundesliga „if they want to become world-class players“.

However, this „mentality football“ also has its advantages: „German football has other virtues. The Bundesliga also has machines. Its components are the fight, the passion and the toughness of the competition. We look to exchange blows, we never give up and sometimes leave a chance to chance,“ said the 2014 world champion.

The fact that the focus is mainly on mentality is also an „explanation for Joshua Kimmich’s diminished self-confidence“. Lahm once played with Kimmich at FC Bayern. Under the then coach Pep Guardiola, he performed differently.

„I still remember very well that he benefited from Guardiola’s leadership in his early days. That was eight years ago.“ Today, „Kimmich is in the prime of his life, but as a full-back he plays in a position that is not ideally suited to his talents“.

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