Lahm issues Bayern apology
Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm has apologised for criticising the club in a newspaper interview.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 09/11/09 4:25pm
Bayern Munich have attempted to remedy their dented public image with the news that defender Philipp Lahm has apologised for criticising the club in a newspaper interview.
The German giants are in the midst of a torrid period in the club's history, both on and off the pitch, with poor results on all fronts, coupled with speculation that manager Louis van Gaal has lost the Bayern dressing room.
As the rumours reach boiling point, the higher powers at the famous Bavarian club have tried to stem the recent bad press by assuring the Dutch tactician's future, at least until Christmas, while dealing internally with two of their renegade performers.
On Sunday, Germany international Lahm and Italy striker Luca Toni were each given a "considerable fine" for their conduct over the weekend.
Toni left the stadium at half-time of the 1-1 draw with Schalke after being substituted by boss Van Gaal, while Lahm criticised the club in an interview with a leading German newspaper.
Van Gaal is by no means a hit at the Allianz Arena though, but Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness joined Franz Beckenbauer in setting a winter deadline to the former Barcelona manager to improve the club's fortunes, both domestically and in Europe.
Meanwhile, Lahm has accepted his fine after meeting with Bayern's board of directors on Monday to offer his apologies for the remarks he made in the interview, in which he criticised the club's transfer policy, among other things.
"In a very open, detailed and constructive discussion, Philipp Lahm has apologised for his comments and the way he chose to make them public," read a statement released by the Bayern board.
"Philipp has realised that it would have been better to make his opinion known directly to the board."
Lahm is Bayern's longest-serving player having joined the club as an 11-year-old in 1995.
He was named as the club's vice-captain 16 months ago, and, although his comments this weekend were frowned upon, he has been told his opinion is still valued.
"He was encouraged and invited by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeness, Karl Hopfner and Christian Nerlinger to let his views be known in future in a direct dialogue with the people responsible at the club," continued the statement.
"Philipp Lahm has accepted the fine imposed by the board and, for both sides, the issue from the weekend has been dealt with."
Former Bayern captain Stefan Effenberg, however, believes there will be repercussions for Lahm's outburst.
"It is going to be brutal for Lahm," he told the website Stern. "His performance is going to be scrutinised after every game now.
"Going to the press was the wrong way. Even if I can understand some of his criticism, it would have been more intelligent to go straight to Hoeness' office."
Yet Lahm has received support from his national team captain Michel Ballack, who told Sky television that he could fully understand his former club-mate's actions.
"At the end of the day, Philipp is an important player for FC Bayern, he carries responsibility and feels responsible for the team," said the Chelsea midfielder.
"He certainly wanted to wake people up and send out a positive signal and talk about things.
"Philipp is strong enough to cope with the current criticism."