Perfect swansong for Lahm, Alonso
MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s beersoaked head coach Carlo Ancelotti conceded it will be tough to replace Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso after the pair played their final game before retiring.
Lahm, 33, and Alonso, 35, hung up their boots after Saturday’s 41 win over Freiburg as Bayern celebrated lifting the German league trophy for the fifth season in a row.
The German giants ended up 15 points clear in Ancelotti’s first season since replacing Pep Guardiola.
Germany’s World Cup-winning captain Lahm played his 517th and final game in the Bayern shirt, lifting the Bundesliga shield for a record-equalling eighth time.
Alonso, a 2010 World Cup winner, as well as Euro 2008 and 2012 champion with Spain, proved he is going out at the top after his superb diagonal pass set up Arjen Robben for the opening goal.
“It was an emotional day for Xabi Alonso and for Philipp Lahm,” said Ancelotti, who has now won league titles as a coach in Germany, Italy, England and France.
“I want to thank both players, they have played a fantastic season in fantastic careers, but now we have to look forward and try to find good replacements.”
Hoffenheim’s Germany internationals Niklas Suele and Sebastian Rudy will join Bayern next season to fight to fill the vacant positions.
Ancelotti was a prime target after the final whistle for the traditional ‘Bierdusche’ (beer shower) as his team hunted him down with three-litre glasses of wheat beer.
Goalscorer Robben raised his arms in triumph when he won the race to soak Ancelotti, who wisely wore a tracksuit for the occasion.
“I’m still alive. It was funny, but a bit cold,” joked a sodden Ancelotti.
He was not the only Bayern star to get a good drenching — assistant coach Hermann Gerland managed to dump all three litres over Lahm, who was giving a live TV interview.
“There are mixed feelings, I must say,” said Lahm before the beer hit him. “This is very emotional today. I have experienced so much here,” he added, having joined Bayern as an 11-year-old.
“My friends and family are there and it was the last time.
“It was my life to be here on the pitch and today it was the last time in this community - I’ve always seen football as a big community.
“You pursue goals with the fans and with all your team-mates. I will miss that later.”
Lahm has turned down Bayern’s sports director role and says he will decide his future after spending time with this family as his wife is expecting their second child. AFP