Sunday, March 26, 2023

Thomas Muller is Back to His Best and We Have Jupp Heynckes to Thank for It

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It’s hard not to love the Germany international and Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller.

By no means is this 28-year-old Weilheim in Oberbayern born player someone who can be profiled as a classic footballer. Standing 1.86 m tall with his lean and mean figure and that ever-present wicked smile on his face, Thomas Muller would hardly strike you as an ultimate athlete due to the lack of muscles or a clearly defined physical appearance.

But Muller is the classic example of that good old saying – appearance can be deceiving – as behind all of his raw physique lies a relentless spirit and unbound football talent which has graced the scene over the past decade.

One-Club Icon

Thomas Muller made his professional debut back in 2008 when he played 35 league matches for Bayern Munich II, during which time he notched 16 goals before getting fast-tracked into the first team with the Bavarian giants.

Over the past ten years, the Germany international made well over 270 Bundesliga appearances with Bayern Munich and scored over 100 league goals. With corporate football slowly – but surely – ruining that football essence every romantic – the author of this article included – Thomas Muller stands as one of the last specimen of a dying breed.

Francesco Totti, Paolo Maldini and Steven Gerrard as the one-club icons are no longer in the picture and Thomas Muller remains world’s last hometown boy.

Unlike the aforementioned football legends whose roles within their respective teams were clearly defined and determined, Thomas Muller’s greatness lies in his vast versatility. If you were to state which position Thomas Muller is best fitted in, you’re likely to provide a wrong answer and it doesn’t have anything to do with your knowledge and understanding of the football game.

Roamer, Poacher, World-Class Scorer

Who are we, ultimately, to judge a man such as Carlo Ancelotti whose Bayern Munich misfortune was best illustrated through his inability to deploy Thomas Muller in such a way as to have the Germany international display the full array of his abilities.

  • A midfielder
  • A forward
  • An attacking midfielder
  • A second striker
  • A centre-forward

One of these five options and usually all of them are true for Bayern Munich’s one-club wonder who’s over the entire course of his career been praised for his work-rate, teamworking, positioning, eye for goal and ability to read situations and predict play.

As a poacher of sort, Thomas Muller was most recently cleverly compared to detective Dirk Gently. You know, that fictional detective TV series character who has little regard for evidence or important information regarding a case but instead runs around labelling random objects as important before somehow ending up solving the case anyway.

Such a comical comparison between seemingly two incomparable figures is arguably best suited to describe the essence of Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich’s resident joker and a global star comedian who is bringing the fun element back to football.


All Jokes Aside…

Bayern Munich supporters can count themselves lucky to have been given a privilege of enjoying in such an unbound talent who – despite his jovial appearance and seemingly unprofessional presence – has grown to become one of the greatest footballers Germany has ever had.

Numbers – if you will – speak for themselves.

Opta has stated it clearly, Bayern Munich stand unbeaten in their last 61 competitive outings with Thomas Muller as a scorer. Undefeated states it lightly, however, knowing that the Bavarians won 58 of the total 61 games which – in itself – is a remarkable piece of information.

If other numeric is to be believed, Germany international team has never lost a game in which Thomas Muller has scored, a run that currently stretches to 27 games.

It’s fair to say that Thomas Muller is a scoring machine and such a rewarding player for any manager who succeeds in keeping him happy and satisfied with his role in the team.

Not that I want to get back to the previous part of our article with describing which position that would be, let us conclude that Thomas Muller is a roamer whose running work – off and on the ball – is out of this world. Muller would create plenty of space for his teammates and can be clinical in front of goal.

All Hail Heynckes!

Carlo Ancelotti’s rigid approach to tactics and formation deprived him of a privilege and honour to see Thomas Muller at his best but – fortunately – Jupp Heynckes managed to get the Bayern boy up and running again.

In a comparison between Ancelotti’s Muller and Heynckes’s Muller – the numbers are distinctive.

In 52 matches he played under Carlo Ancelotti in the 2016/17 season, Thomas Muller managed to score 10 goals and record 18 assists, making it 181 minutes per goal/assist. To the contrast, Muller made 17 appearances in Heynckes’s second reign at the club with 8 goals and as many assists, which puts it at 69 minutes per goal/assist.

Muller saved his best for this week when his brace against Besiktas helped Bayern Munich equal club record 14-game winning streak and put the Bavarians in a strong position ahead of the replay in Turkey for which the Bavarians are priced at 17/35 to win.


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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