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Lell himself stunned by ‘unbelievable’ progress

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Lell himself stunned by ‘unbelievable’ progress

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Dec 26, 2007 2:50 pm

26.12.2007

Bayern’s thumping 6-0 victory over Aris Salonika at the Allianz Arena on 19 December featured a four-goal burst from Luca Toni, one from Philipp Lahm - and one from Christian Lell. The right-back struck after 78 minutes, bursting into the opposing penalty area to net Bayern’s fifth of the evening in clinical style. It was also the 23-year-old’s first senior strike for the club. “Naturally, I’m over the moon. It’s the perfect Christmas gift to myself,” a beaming Lell later told reporters.

Rewind to the eleventh of August at the same ground. Bayern opened the season in style with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hansa Rostock. New signings Toni and Miroslav Klose scored the goals, while Franck Ribery instantly won over the Allianz Arena crowd with his skill and trickery. Established Germany internationals Philipp Lahm and Marcell Jansen occupied the full-back positions. To nobody’s great surprise, Christian Lell watched the action from the subs’ bench.

<b>Regular berth</b>

However, not even Lell himself could possibly have foreseen how events would subsequently unfold. The opening day clash turned out to be the only competitive fixture before Christmas in which the youngster was not to feature. Lell went on to make 16 Bundesliga starts, providing three assists. He also began all six UEFA Cup matches, and came on as a sub in both German Cup ties. “No-one thought I’d get a run in the team – and to be frank, I was among them,” Lell revealed to the <i>Münchner Merkur</i> daily in the build-up to the Aris clash.

The Munich-born lad has undergone a transformation from fringe player to regular in the preceding six months. “I’ve had an unbelievable first half of the season. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,“ he grinned. The crowning glory arrived with that first senior goal. “I’m going off on holiday as a satisfied man, because I can justifiably say I’ve made my contribution to us occupying top spot. It’s a fantastic feeling.“

<b>Brought up on the Säbener Strasse</b>

One critical reason why Lell’s first half of term followed such an “unexpectedly positive“ course was injuries to his main rivals for the full-back slots. One or the other of Lahm or Jansen picked up knocks, and long-term casualty Willy Sagnol only resumed the squad programme in December. Lell’s extended run in the team also saw him become more and more consistent with every game

“The way he’s come on is phenomenal,” general manager Uli Hoeneß recently declared, proudly surveying another outstanding product of the club’s renowned youth system. Lell arrived at Bayern from Alemannia München as a nine-year-old and appeared at every youth level for the club. Brought up in the family home actually on the Säbener Strasse, the young Lell would climb a small rise overlooking the training ground to watch the stars train every day. “I think I’m connected to the club in a different way to a player who’s been transferred here. My heart genuinely belongs to the club,“ he reflects.

<b>Contract until 2009</b>

The player’s personal development and opportunities over the rest of the season will influence how much longer he is prepared to commit to the object of his heartfelt passion. “I’ve shown I can play at this level, and I’m confident enough to say I can keep playing at this level. That’s my goal,” he declares.

The right-sided player is contracted to the club until 2009, and has already spoken to Hoeneß about extending his stay. “I need to know I have a future here, although if I was to follow my heart, I’d sign up on the spot for the next decade,” Lell confesses. “There’s nothing I’d like more, and I’m basically just hoping everything continues the way it is.“
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