News : Thomas Müller at FC Bayern and the DFB: He has to go – sport
Even when it comes to Easter greetings, Thomas Müller is one step ahead. Because he also has a rabbit hutch on his farm in addition to a horse stable, he can wave at the camera on Instagram with a mumbling ball of fur on his chest. Together with Mrs. Lisa, he owns several rabbits, plus German giants – a breed that, as the name suggests, grows very large.
Bunnies and rabbits have a certain meaning in German football. Berti Vogts once stroked a two-eared ear in “Tatort” for a reason that was not entirely clear, and at the beginning of his career Philipp Lahm was worried about how to look after his two rabbits during VfB Stuttgart’s Champions League trips. He probably asked the neighbors, at least that’s what his teammate at the time, Silvio Meißner, suspected.
Müller, at least that’s what he keeps saying, takes care of the stable himself. Most recently, he told in a video during the first wave of the pandemic when the Federal Ministry of Health wanted to advertise the hashtag and the message #wirbleibenzuhause. Müller was there with a rake.
In any case, Müller has been home for the past ten days. He ate paella, took part in a reading campaign for children with Felix Neureuther and Bastian Schweinsteiger and recorded an internet video with Mats Hummels, who was also at home. He also came up with a nickname for Leon Goretzka, whom he now calls “Scoretzka” because of the English word for scoring goals. “Thomas was probably boring,” said the goal scorer of the 1-0 in Leipzig.
While Thomas Müller may have been bored, large parts of the football republic finally realized that Thomas Müller shouldn’t be bored. Especially not next June. Because while the German national team with several Bayern players barely hit the goal in two games and lost to North Macedonia, FC Bayern defeated the toughest champions for the championship with the same players. Müller plays in one team, not in the other.
In football, one should always be careful when supposedly simple causal relationships impose themselves. You can usually assume that those responsible have already recognized it, but here the question is in a larger context.
Because Müller, as you can now say, may be playing the best phase of his career under Hansi Flick. After Niko Kovac wanted to prefer the high-end technician Coutinho to him and banished the original Bavarian to the bank with his now bitter saying (“When there is need is …”), Flick recognized Müller’s abilities that were far beyond the normal Stop ball, pass ball, shoot ball go out.
Müller, who for many years was mainly responsible for the spatial interpretation and good mood department, often also for oddities and for special tasks, has become the leader and sometimes the player-coach at FC Bayern. When asked who would give more commands during the game, Flick or Müller, Goretzka referred to the latter after the victory against Leipzig.
Müller directs Bayern’s pressing, he gives the signal when the ball hunt should begin. David Alaba is in charge at the back, Müller in front – and in addition to his role as player-coach, he also has the opportunity to pursue the bread and butter business of an offensive player. Müller is currently the best goal setter in all of Europe and, according to the latest findings, there are a few good footballers all over Europe.
In view of this, the question does not actually arise whether he has to go to the European Championship. There are hardly any arguments against it – especially since he was not banned from the national team primarily for performance reasons, but to enable a change that did not really work out.
The question of how to incorporate him into this national team is much more difficult. At FC Bayern, he plays in a 10-man position that Löw does not currently have. In addition, so far he had Robert Lewandowski in front of him, who draws the attention of the opposing defense so wonderfully practically – even such a player is missing in the DFB team.
But no one can deny that Müller’s directness and his communication would compensate for obvious weaknesses in Löw’s team. Sometimes the national team gave in to their fate in silence, as some players are now slowly admitting.
Against Leipzig you saw what Müller can give a team even without Robert Lewandowski: Train to goal, danger in the penalty area, confusion in the opposing defense – especially when the passport is conveniently Joshua Kimmich in both teams. It would therefore be a very concrete and very seductive possibility for Löw to simply recreate the Bayern offensive, supplemented by Ilkay Gündogan, Kai Havertz or Toni Kroos, depending on taste or opponent.
Müller, still only 31, has already fought all football battles from Madrid to Rio on the side and he is still the ninth-best DFB goalscorer in history. And even if he shouldn’t play from the start – just his presence in the squad would force the French coach Didier Deschamps and the Portuguese Fernando Santos to think and prevent the honorable situation that occurred at the 2018 World Cup when the victorious Mexicans rejoiced, they had known for months how the Germans would play.
Löw knows all this and so you can already think about what words he will use to welcome the prodigal son back to the national team. Or you can think about what words you want to use to justify not doing that. And because footballers see the same games as fans, he would probably have to explain that to his team as well, why someone is standing in the rabbit hutch in the south of Munich instead of in the arena in the north of Munich in the opposing sixteen.
That would be difficult enough, and on top of that, Löw’s team is for the most part Thomas Müller’s team.