Germany full-back Philipp Lahmhas said that he is ready to relish winning his 100th international cap against Austria in Friday's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier, especially as he will celebrate it in his own backyard.
The Bayern Munich defender will lead Germany out at the Allianz Arena, which is home to the Bundesliga side he has represented since 2003. The 29-year-old made his Germany debut on February 18, 2004 - in a 2-1 victory over Croatia in Split - and he is ready to mark a century of caps in familiar surroundings.
"It really has come together incredibly well," Lahm told fcbayern.telekom.de. "It's a special match, and I'm privileged to be playing it in my own backyard, as it were, which is fantastic.
"My family will be there, lots of my friends are coming, and plenty of acquaintances. When I look back to the past and see how many outstanding players didn't make it to 100 caps, Gerd Muller or Uwe Seeler for example, you realise it's definitely special when you make it there yourself."
Germany manager Joachim Low hailed Lahm's achievements ahead of the landmark. "For almost 10 years now, Philipp Lahm has epitomised consistency, reliability and the highest standards in the national team," Low said.
When I look back to the past and see how many outstanding players didn't make it to 100 caps, Gerd Muller or Uwe Seeler for example, you realise it's definitely special.
"He has natural authority, he accepts responsibility, he communicates well, and despite our flat hierarchy in the national team, he's an undisputed leader. It's very special for him to be winning his 100th cap right here in his home city of Munich."
Germany top Group C with 16 points, with Austria, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland all locked on 11 points and battling it out for the runners-up spot. Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands are unable to progress with one and zero points respectively.
Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland face Sweden in Dublin's Aviva Stadium, with the Italian's assistant Marco Tardelli admitting he is "scared" of the threat that striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses. However, Trapattoni's number two insists there will be no special strategy to deal with Ibrahimovic, simply because it is impossible to predict the unpredictable.
Tardelli said: "The back four must control him at all times because he is their best player. There isn't a special plan because he is a very strong player. It's like trying to prepare something for (Cristiano) Ronaldo - Ronaldo decides what he wants to do. Focus on the match, focus on Ibrahimovic, it's okay. But when he decides to do something, it's impossible to control him."
Elsewhere, Kazakhstan play the Faroe Islands in Astana as both sides bid to avoid the wooden spoon.