Lahm: 100th cap not important

The full-back will bring up a century of appearances for his country on Friday but insists the result is more important than any personal honour
Germany captain Philipp Lahm says taking a step closer to World Cup 2014 qualification is much more important than winning his 100th cap.

The Bayern Munich defender is set to comple a century of senior appearances for die Mannschaft when Austria visit the Allianz Arena on Friday night, but the 29-year-old insists picking up three points from the game is all that matters.

Speaking to the press ahead of the Group E World Cup qualifier, Lahm said: "My 100th cap is a minor issue, the most important thing is we win the game."

The Germans sit top of their group and will be virtually assured of a place in Brazil next summer if they collect six points against Austria and the Faroe Islands over the next five days.

Yet there was still plenty of time for reflection, with Lahm praising former Germany coach Rudi Voller for putting faith in him as a rookie full-back over a decade ago.

"Many thanks to Rudi Voller because I was only young when I was first called up, I'd been an amateur seven months before."

Voller took a punt on the then 20-year-old Lahm for a testing trip to play Croatia in Split in 2004, and since then the Bavarian born star has played a further 98 times for his country, remarkably starting every single one of his 99 caps.

Germany coach Joachim Low was quick to lavish his captain with adulation, showering his man with the kind of compliments recently dished out by Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola.

Former Bayern boss Heynckes described Lahm as 'the best full-back in the history of the Bundesliga', whilst current coach Guardiola claimed he was, 'the smartest player I've ever coached.'

Not to be outdone, Low added: "He is an absolute model of seriousness and commitment. He is a world class player and a great person. As a coach, you can always rely on him."

During his decade with the national side, Lahm has had to endure some agonising defeats, such as the 2008 European Championship final loss to Spain and two semi-final defeats in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

But Lahm has vowed to atone for those near misses after declaring "the title I most want is the 2014 World Cup".