It's easy to forget that Alaba is just 21. If the Austrian feels like he has been around for years, it's because he has, having made his Bayern Munich debut at 17 years and seven months, the great club's youngest-ever debutant, during the reign of Louis van Gaal.
Four years on, the promise first spied by the Bayern scouts that smuggled the full-back across the border from Austria Vienna and into Bavaria is already coming to fruition. While many surely could not have believed it when the fresh-faced defender first stepped into the senior dressing room, they must now surely be wondering whether indeed they have found a gem of even greater value than Lahm.
The pair share many characteristics. Their ability to get forward, such a vital component of the modern full-back's armoury, is not to the detriment of their defending in the way it was for Roberto Carlos, for example, while Alaba - like Lahm before him - has had more than a bit-part role in the success of Franck Ribery. It seems the young Austrian and the Frenchman share a special bond judging by the number of times they celebrate goals together, and that comes through in their understanding of each other's game.
Alaba's emergence has also helped solve the thorny issue, at least at club level, of how to get Lahm to be able to play both full-back roles simultaneously. It's a real shame for Joachim Loew he's not German.
But Alaba showed in Tuesday's 3-0 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow what he has and Lahm does not. His early free-kick opener might have squirmed under Igor Akinfeev - embarrassingly for the Russian goalkeeper - but it says much about Alaba's ability and status within the dressing room of the European champions that he was given the shot at goal at all. It's not as if there was a shortage of candidates.
Though goals are not his forté, Lahm does provide his fair share of assists, most of which come from crosses. Alaba can do that too, but those who saw the lobbed pass to Arjen Robben for Bayern's third have rarely - if ever - seen such vision and playmaker-esque technique from Lahm.
Remember too it was Alaba who took and scored the tone-setting first penalty at the Santiago Bernabeu when Bayern beat Real Madrid in a shoot-out to reach the 2011/12 Champions League final. For a 19-year-old, that took character beyond the norm. I am not saying Lahm has not got bottle, but he did fail to score his own spot-kick in that game.
The pair are both versatile, and though Lahm earned Pep Guardiola's praise for his display as a defensive midfielder against CSKA, Alaba still has the edge. "I think that he can play in any position. Even if he played in goal, he'd be excellent," Johannes Sturm, a Vienna-based journalist, told me of a player who started his career on the left wing and though habitually a defensive midfielder with his country, scored the only goal of the game in Austria's recent World Cup qualifying win over Ireland as an attacking midfielder. "I've seen some really good performances in each of these positions," added Sturm.
Perhaps it is no surprise Alaba has so many strings to his bow given his dad, George, a Nigerian-born rapper of some renown in Austria in the 1990s, was part of a group called Two-in-One. Alaba Sr. now represents the interests of his prodigiously-talented offspring, and is suspected of instigating the recent 'Alaba-leaks' incident in which his son's relatively modest pay slip made its way into the media just as talks about an improvement on his "well under €2 million" wage were mooted. If his son continues playing like he did on Tuesday, George Alaba will not need such underhand tactics to convince the Bayern bosses to dig much, much deeper into their pockets.