Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Philipp Lahm banks on German experience to win fourth title

Versatile skipper thinks German side's know-how will be key

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The Independent Online

The Germany captain Philipp Lahm believes that his team’s know-how could prove to be the decisive factor in the World Cup final against Argentina tomorrow night.

“Experience is important,” said the versatile 30-year-old, who has lifted eight trophies for Bayern Munich in the past two years. “I think if you look at club level, many of us have already been involved in big games. Whether they were positive or negative is not important, but we all have experience in a Champions League final, DFB-Pokal [German Cup] final, or whatever.

He added: “We’re always playing at the very top level and when you go through our squad, you’ll see we’ve all got that experience and it’s certainly an advantage for us.”

Lahm has already made plans for after the showpiece. “I think I’ll just have an early night,” he said. “By that, I mean in the early hours.”

Miroslav Klose, who overtook Ronaldo as the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer in the semi-final humiliation of Brazil on Tuesday, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground in spite of the honours he has achieved in his career.

“The only thing that matters to me is that the team is successful and we’ll finally be able to lift the damn thing on Sunday,” said the 36-year-old, who has started Germany’s last two games after playing a reserve role to start with.

“I’m just savouring every moment that I’m on the pitch,” he added. “I’m soaking up all the emotions. Those are my special moments.”

Klose struck his 16th World Cup goal against the hosts as Brazil’s Ronaldo, who scored both goals in the 2002 final against Klose’s Germany, looked on in Belo Horizonte.

Klose, who was born in Poland, is Germany’s all-time scoring leader with 71 goals in 136 appearances and he has no plans to call it a day after tomorrow’s match.

“Unfortunately,” he said with a smile. “I feel like I can still keep going on. I feel like I can drag my corpse around for quite some time. I’ll probably make a spontaneous decision at some point [to retire] but I’m not there yet.”

Even though Klose was playing the last time Germany appeared in a World Cup final 12 years ago, Die Mannschaft has come a long way since then and so has their image at home. In 2002, an efficient but limited Germany ground their way into the final before losing to an equally dour Brazil side in the final.

“It was the last time that a German World Cup team matched the picture the world has of us,” the weekly Der Spiegel wrote this week.

Things could hardly be seen in a more different light after that remarkable 7-1 win over Brazil. Their public back home are enjoying “a team that plays smoothly, intelligently, elegantly and fluently,” according to Gunter Gebauer, a philosophy professor at Berlin’s Free University who specialises in sports. “People now get a picture of better Germans or a better Germany that is enormously flattering and certainly isn’t entirely unjustified,” he added.

It started with the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when then-coach Jürgen Klinsmann brought a new flair to the team and the nation rallied behind it in a festival of flag-waving support previously unseen in post-war Germany.

No matter that Italy beat Germany in the semi-finals. What became known as the “summer fairy tale” made the country more comfortable with patriotism.Now coach Joachim Löw – Klinsmann’s assistant eight years ago – can finally crown Germany’s renaissance with the first World Cup in 24 years and the first title since Euro ’96.