Germany full-back Philipp Lahm has once again endorsed his credentials on the big stage after impressive displays at Euro 2008.Ã‚Â
The Bayern Munich star, playing in his third major tournament, has been a rock at the back for the Germans and his flexibility has proved invaluable to Joachim Low.
Lahm burst onto the international scene at Euro 2004 and he was nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year after his success at the 2006 World Cup.Ã‚Â
The 24-year-old has been employed at left-back and right-back this time around in Austria and Switzerland and he has used his blistering pace to great effect in support of a midfield which has lacked natural width.Ã‚Â
Low does give Lahm licence to get forward and he is a useful attacking outlet for Germany. The Munich-born defender is quoted at 48.0 to open the scoring in WednesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s semi-final clash with Turkey and considering his goalscoring record the football odds look fair.Ã‚Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s netted twice for Die Mannschaft but only once in competitionÃ‚Â – the opening goal of the World Cup two years ago.Ã‚Â
But with Turkey missing the attacking talents of Arda Touran, Tuncay and Nihat, Lahm might be able to get forward more and threaten.Ã‚Â
A more feasible punt though is to back the Ã¢â‚¬ËœGerman MachineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to keep a clean sheet against a depleted, ifÃ‚Â not spirited Turkey outfit.Ã‚Â
Lahm managed to keep a lid on the attacking talents of Portugal duo Simao and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 3-2 victory over Portugal in the last-eight tie. And his central defensive compatriots Per Mertesacker and Christophe Metzelder seem to be growing in confidence as the competition progresses.Ã‚Â
Lahm is certain to play a starring role in Basel on Wednesday and the soccer odds of 1.97 about Germany keeping Turkey outÃ‚Â in 90 minutes looks an attractive proposition.Ã‚Â
By Phil Tomlinson
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