Thomas Müller was missing again in the 2-1 win against Werder Bremen in Bayern Munich’s starting XI. Coach Thomas Tuchel therefore had to answer a lot of questions – which annoyed him, but also revealed interesting insights.
“I understand one question. I have a little less understanding for 100 questions,” said Thomas Tuchel after he was asked not quite 100 questions on Saturday evening, but significantly more than one question about his namesake Thomas Müller. In his opinion, “the measure has been lost a bit on this topic, especially today”.
What happened? The coach had actually dared to put his new employer’s greatest identification figure on the bench. Yet again! Despite eight failures! Instead of Müller, Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala, Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry started on the offensive against Werder Bremen. The Müller-less cast won rather lackluster 2-1 and increased the lead at the top of the table to Borussia Dortmund, at least in the meantime to four points.
In the first three competitive games under Tuchel’s guidance, Müller was still in the starting XI. The 33-year-old vice-captain even scored a brace in the 4-2 win against Borussia Dortmund. Most recently, he only came off the bench in four out of six games and did not record a scorer point. According to Tuchel, the two quarter-final duels in the Champions League with Manchester City were “not Thomas Müller games”. Last week against Hertha BSC, Müller suffered from back problems and “then we decided to play again with the same people”.
In Bremen, the trainer experienced with full force which mechanisms this approach triggers. When broadcasting on TV sky the panel of experts with Lothar Matthäus and Julia Simic debated in more detail about Müller’s bank position than about the game itself. Once again it was confirmed: nobody is more interested and polarizing at FC Bayern than Müller.
FC Bayern: Thomas Tuchel’s clarifications at Müller
“Müller always plays,” said Louis van Gaal 13 years ago. With 489 scorer points in 663 competitive games, eleven championship titles, two trebles and many cheeky sayings, Müller has since become a guarantee of success, a role model and the most influential player at FC Bayern. He played a decisive role in the separation of Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac, and he was also reportedly not very positive about Julian Nagelsmann.
Does Tuchel now initiate Müller’s end at Bayern? When the trainer asked this question in the skyinterview before the game, he just laughed and dodged before he countered after the final whistle: “He comes off the bench in two games and your colleague asks if I’m starting his career. Maybe keep the measure. That’s on target over.” In the meantime, Tuchel had quickly ended his career at Bayern Munich.
Tuchel wanted to clarify something else in this regard. With all the questions about Müller, please also “respect for those who start”. Expert Simic wanted to know whether Müller, with all his experience, was not particularly important in the current difficult situation. As a reminder: FC Bayern is in the worst position in the Bundesliga in eleven years and is in a close duel with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.
“Thomas Müller was there when we got into this situation,” said Tuchel. Perhaps to soften this correct but harsh statement, he sent afterwards: “I love Thomas Müller.” A sentence that would mean nothing good, at least in the case of his role model Pep Guardiola. During his time at FC Bayern, Guardiola announced his love for Mario Mandzukic and Mario Götze in the same wording, before having both sold the following summer.
Thomas Müller gave a speech in the cabin in Bremen
Tuchel currently seems to love Müller less as a footballer than as a kind of additional assistant coach. “Did you see him against Hertha? He was up front with me in the coaching zone and showed what you have to show,” said Tuchel about the previous 2-0 win against Hertha BSC.
CEO Oliver Kahn reported that Müller gave a dressing room speech in Bremen: “Just before the boys came onto the pitch, he was the one who pushed the team and said that you have to win here today.” Said and done. Thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané and despite Niklas Schmidt’s goal, which is well worth seeing, FC Bayern won 2-1. When Gnabry made it 1-0, Müller was just waiting for his substitution – and almost cheered the goal as if he had scored it himself.
“The way Thomas accepts the decision is sensational,” said Tuchel, praising his enthusiasm for training and his influence on the team. “I know that he has a special role and he gets that from me in dealing with him and in the feedback I get from him. I hope he feels that too. It won’t always be measured by the minutes of the game. “
In the end, it was enough for Müller to play 26 minutes against Bremen and thus set a record. In the 24th Bundesliga game against Werder he also remained undefeated (21 wins, three draws). No player has played as many Bundesliga games against a club without losing once. Will there be any more in the new season? For once, Müller himself did not want to comment in Bremen.
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