Created on 06-05-2008 at 00:00 AM
Christian Lell inaugurated the traditional Weißbier shower in celebration of Bayern’s title triumph out on the Wolfsburg pitch on Sunday, and the right-back gave himself another reason to be cheerful on Monday by agreeing a contract extension keeping him at the club until 30 June 2011. The defender’s current deal was originally due to expire at the end of the 2008-9 campaign.
Lell rates as the surprise discovery of the season in Munich. Last summer, no-one envisaged the 23-year-old claiming regular status, “and to be honest, neither did I,” he himself confessed a few weeks ago. However, he has appeared in 44 of Bayern’s 54 matches in all competitions this term. “His development has been phenomenal,” Uli Hoeneß said at the midpoint of the campaign.
The right-back, who grew up just a few hundred yards away from Bayern’s Säbener Strasse training ground, is a home-grown product through and through. He joined the FCB junior team youth section in 1993, collecting both U-17 and U-19 German championship winners’ medals, before winning the third division south with the reserves in 2004. He then went out on loan to 1. FC Köln for two seasons.
The local boy returned to Bayern in the summer of 2006, making the major breakthrough in his second year as a professional, assisted by a string of injuries to fellow full-backs Willy Sagnol, Philipp Lahm and Marcell Jansen. A string of convincing displays has seen the squad player transformed into a regular this term.
”I’m not surprised Christian’s had so many games,” declared Ottmar Hitzfeld, even naming Lell “a potential candidate for Jogi Löw, provided he can keep it up.“ However, Lell is not thinking about senior international caps at the present time, focusing instead on confirming his recent stellar progress. “I’m confident enough to think I can keep playing at this level. That’s my goal,” he insisted.