When Philipp Lahm phoned Joachim Low to announce his retirement from international football just five days after lifting Germany's fourth World Cup he would have no doubt thought that was it.
No more late flights to the team’s headquarters in Frankfurt, and no more awkward questions regarding the future of German football and their 18-year trophy drought.
Indeed, Lahm has helped his former team-mates to avoid answering awkward questions of this nature by single-handedly, reinstating Germany as the world’s number one international outfit.
At the ripe age of 30, the Bayern Munich defender would have no doubt thought that things could not get much better by capping off his international career by lifting the World Cup in front of a global audience of one billion.
In 2003, Lahm won his first cap for a Germany team who were outdated and in need of drastic reform.
11 thoroughly difficult and emotional years later, the 30-year-old was the first person to sample the successful harvest of 2014 by single-handily winning the World Cup for his nation.
Lahm no doubt based his decision to retire on what he had seen during his six weeks on World Cup duty, a young, energetic and confident squad with the talent to dominate global football for years to come.
Nearly three months after winning Germany her fourth World Cup, hearty euphoria regarding the national team has turned to disbelief and the feel-good sensation of being number one has turned sour.
Four games into their golden era and Germany have only won once, with their chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 already being thrown into disarray.
Low’s world beaters are currently fourth in their European qualifying group, behind the likes of Poland, the Republic and Ireland and Scotland having picked up four points from a possible nine on offer.
Indeed, Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home against the Republic of Ireland summarised everything that has gone wrong since the World Cup, with German newspaper Bild, accusing the team of lacking both creativity and experience.
The one thing which must come into Lahm’s head now having seen recent Germany games on TV and hearing horror stories from his Bayern team-mates is guilt concerning his decision to retire when he did.
Low’s team just don’t look comfortable playing together and you get a sense that the defensive back-line is missing both confidence and the experience needed to secure vital victories.
With Lahm in the team, Germany not only have a professional who can play in a wide number of positions but an excellent reader of the game, a perfect box to box player and most importantly a role model.
With youngsters Erik Durm and Antonio Rϋdiger, who between themselves have only accumulated nine measly caps, are not only struggling to defend for the full ninety minutes but are also having difficulty getting forward.
Lahm, was a master in this field and it’s obvious to suggest that Germany just don’t look as sharp without their former pint-sized captain trotting up and down the pitch.
Although the situation is far less concerning to that facing Germany post Euro 2004, the Eagles are currently going through a small transition and with the retirements of fellow World Cup winners, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker, Jogi’s boys are lacking experience.
At this moment in time, even though Germany are still favourites to qualify from Group D as comfortable winners, Low might be itching to pick up the phone and plead for Lahm to rethink his decision.
The versatile 30-year-old still has at least two years left playing at the highest level and his presence alone could give Germany’s youngsters the kick up the arse needed to develop into international superstars.
It will be interesting to see when the SOS will be given to Lahm, and if he indeed responds to his countries pleas.
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