In the first home game in 2023, Bayern will receive the seven-goal Cologne team. And one question is: What role does Thomas Müller play? Starting eleven or bench? It’s still a luxury problem for the coach.
Where to go with Thomas Müller? Julian Nagelsmann also asks himself this explosive question. However, the coach did not want to reveal the answer in advance before FC Bayern’s first home game in 2023 against the furious seven-goal Cologne team.
“I haven’t made up my mind about Thomas either,” said Nagelsmann about the Munich line-up on Tuesday. Starting eleven or bench? As in the 1-1 draw in Leipzig, Ur-Bayer Müller (33) could experience the autumn champions’ last first-round game in the Bundesliga again as a spectator from the sidelines.
For the former Immer player Müller, the new year begins in an unfamiliar and at the same time complicated role: that of the challenger in the Munich offensive, which features prominent players. In the noise surrounding Yann Sommer’s (34) cold start debut in the Bayern goal and the excited future debates about captain Manuel Neuer (36), who had been injured for months, Müller’s role as a marginal figure in the Bundesliga restart was pretty much lost.
Müller wants to “collect minutes”
Now she is more in focus. Müller as a bench presser, that is explosive. Nagelsmann also knows that, who nevertheless tried to narrow it down before the showdown with 1. FC Köln. “Due to Thomas Müller’s personality and his importance in German football and for Bayern Munich, this topic is more important than internal communication for both of us,” said the head coach.
In Leipzig, Müller had to wait until the 83rd minute before Nagelsmann substituted him for Serge Gnabry. After his short assignment, the 33-year-old had to do strides with his reserve teammates on the pitch of the Leipzig Arena. “Everyone has to submit to the team. The most important thing is that we win as a team, that also applies to me,” said Müller afterwards. Of course, he himself would prefer a Bayern victory with him in a leading role. And that’s why the original Bavarian said with a view to the two home games against Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt: “I’m eager to collect minutes.”
Müller as a minute collector? Sounds funny, but that’s how it is at the moment. Nagelsmann provided the explanation for this. “From the coach’s point of view, it’s always about evaluating the training performance, the performance shown and the momentum, which is very important,” he said in general. And added, referring to Müller’s situation: “It’s quite normal when you’re injured and the team has performed very well that when you come back, there are a few moments where you’re behind and the challenger is.”
So far a season to forget for Müller
That sounded like a bank against Cologne. Müller is currently behind, especially when it comes to his direct competitors in his ideal positions: Jamal Musiala (19) has gained a lead on the tenth. And in the storm center Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (33) has further consolidated his status with goal number seven in Leipzig.
For Müller, on the other hand, the season so far has been one to forget. When things were going well at Bayern before the World Cup, he was absent almost the entire time because his body was on strike. His fourth World Cup tournament in Qatar was also a personal failure.
However, it would be premature to say a farewell to Müller. Mueller will attack. He’s pushing back into a leadership role – even on the pitch. “My focus is to be on the pitch, to score goals, to set up goals, to win games,” he recently announced at the training camp in Qatar. Sports director Hasan Salihamidzic commented on the competition in Munich’s luxury squad: “Anyone who performs well will certainly play.”
Whether with or without Müller, Nagelsmann expects a better offensive performance against Cologne. “Only seven shots on goal” were recorded in Leipzig. That’s how many goals Cologne scored in their furious 7-1 win over Werder Bremen. But that can’t scare the Munich team: “The seven goals do more to Cologne than to us,” commented Nagelsmann dryly.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.