Replacing Philipp Lahm: 6 Possible Long-Term Successors at Right-Back
Philipp Lahm has retired from international football following Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup victory in Brazil this month.
The news, confirmed by Bild (h/t talkSPORT), has resonated across the footballing community and left fans in shock. At 30 years of age, it seems early—premature perhaps—but attention must now turn to who replaces him in the setup.
Here, we take a look at what Germany have to offer in terms of long-term right-backs in the wake of Lahm's departure.
Sebastian Jung, Wolfsburg
It appears Sebastian Jung's debut season with Wolfsburg just took on yet another level of importance. He stands as the most obvious choice to replace Philipp Lahm on a long-term basis.
The fact that he transferred from Frankfurt for just €2.5 million shouldn't fool you; he's a remarkably talented, all-round right-back who offers great support in the final third.
Per WhoScored.com, he registered seven assists in the Bundesliga last season, striking up a decent partnership with Joselu.
Tony Jantschke, Borussia Monchengladbach
Tony Jantschke was much-fancied for a possible big move last summer, but he stuck it out with Borussia Monchengladbach and further enhanced his stock.
The only issue here is that he might end up a centre-back rather than a right-back. He's capable on the flank and emerged as a name there, but he's been straddling two roles for 12 months.
He's a safe pair of feet and is very rarely dispossessed, but he doesn't appear the best athlete.
Jerome Boateng, Bayern Munich
Jerome Boateng performed very well at right-back for Germany during the 2014 FIFA World Cup when asked, bottling up Cristiano Ronaldo superbly in the opener against Portugal.
He is obviously better as a centre-back and had a standout season for Bayern Munich last year, but his ability at right-back—in addition to Joachim Low's liking of centre-backs on the flanks—could see him take up the role.
Oliver Sorg, Freiburg
Oliver Sorg is a tackling machine, but his positional play needs some more work if he's to breach the German international setup.
He was part of a disappointing Germany U21 team that contested the 2013 European Championships and was given the runaround by Ola John and Alberto Moreno.
He's a strong presence and times his challenges well, but he may need to take the step to a bigger club for Joachim Low to recognise him as an option.
Benedikt Hoewedes, Schalke 04
Amazingly, Benedikt Hoewedes managed to play an entire FIFA World Cup completely out of position and still came away an unscathed winner.
There's now a chance the stand-in left-back gets to switch over to his second-best position of right-back for the near-future, as that's a role he's played for domestic club Schalke 04 too.
Truthfully, he doesn't really have the desired mobility or body shape to be a permanent fixture at full-back.
Julian Korb, Borussia Monchengladbach
Julian Korb faces another interesting season, as pre-season indications suggest new recruit Fabian Johnson is primed to start at right-back ahead of him in 2014-15.
The 22-year-old completed a dramatic turnaround last season, moving from on the brink of leaving the club to making 22 Bundesliga starts for Borussia Monchengladbach, per WhoScored.com.
He's an intriguing, committed prospect to keep an eye on.