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First left-footed goal

Message boy and goalscorer Lahm

In the aftermath of Saturday’s victory over Ingolstadt, Philipp Lahm was in a light-hearted mood. A queue of reporters asked the Bayern captain the same question over and over again: what was on the handwritten note passed to him by Pep Guardiola? “It said: 'Philipp, score a goal!' And that was it,” laughed Lahm, before turning to the next questioner, and – with obvious delight – giving a different answer.

There can be doubt that the 2-0 success against a courageous FC Ingolstadt put Lahm in a very good mood, despite a poor first half performance “where there was a real lack of energy for the first time in a long time,” the captain said. “We lacked that little something. And the first half is what you get when that happens.”

FCB turned the page after an hour – in a very literal sense. Guardiola jotted down his tactical thoughts and passed them to Lahm in written form, after which the skipper adjusted the on-field formation accordingly. For example, Lahm himself moved from right-back to midfield, where he acted as a distributor and often an auxiliary forward. 

14th goal in 457th match

What happened in the 75th minute was a first even for the seasoned Lahm. Thomas Müller contrived a lay-off from a scramble in the box, leaving the captain with only one real option: shooting with his left foot. It worked, and the 32-year-old World Cup winner scored in the Bundesliga with his left boot for the first time ever. It was also his first goal since October 2014 when he netted a brace in a 6-1 drubbing of Bremen, and his 14th in 457 competitive appearances for FC Bayern.

Naturally, provider Müller could not resist a spot of friendly jesting. “A lot has to come together at once for him to score,” beamed the Germany striker. “He came close last Wednesday and also had a decent chance before he scored.” The ball finally hit the back of the net a short time later. The fact that Lahm put the chance away with his slightly weaker foot was no surprise at all, the giggling Müller insisted: “You just can’t let him shoot with his left foot when he’s in the box!”