GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 22: Thomas Muller of Germany looks on during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Germany and Greece at The Municipal Stadium on June 22, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
So, all over the world, everyone is abuzz over Germany's ongoing record: 15 consecutive wins in all competitive matches, and counting. This streak goes back until the loss to Spain in the 2010 World Cup - every meaningful match since then (meaning World Cup, Euro Championship, or qualifying for such a tournament), Germany has won. But, for those of us who pay close attention, we're following an even longer streak:
In all competitive matches in which Thomas Müller has played, the German national side has now won 18 on the bounce. Keep in mind, the kid was absent from the 1-0 loss to Spain in that semi-final; given his scorching form and the close result, it could easily have gone the other way if he had been involved. In 19 of the 20 competitive matches in which Müller has played for Germany, they have emerged victorious. In fact, let's do a little Müller-centric run through Germany's last 18 competitive matches in which he has played, picking up after the 1-0 loss to Serbia in SouthAfrica. I calculated all this myself.
- June 23, 2010 - Germany beats Ghana, 1-0
Müller assists on the only goal of the match with a sneaky lateral pass: Özil's crazy in-then-out bending shot from the top of the box. This was Özil's day, but already those two are starting to show an almost telepathic understanding with one another on the pitch - especially for guys who are relatively inexperienced and don't play with each other very often:
My favorite part is at 0:47, when Tommy leans over to pinch Özil's nose.
- June 27, 2010 - Germany beats England, 4-1
This one was really Müller's arrival on the world scene, as he basically pulled down the English defenders' pants and spanked them in front of an international audience. Four shots, several brilliant touches in England territory, 1 assist, and 2 goals to seal the win. Not bad for 70 minutes of work.
- July 3, 2010 - Germany beats Argentina, 4-0
The infamous "ball-boy" game. Took about 3 minutes to shut Maradona up. Wikipedia has a gif.
- July 10, 2010 - Germany beats Uruguay, 3-2
Another MOTM performance from Müller, as he opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Also denied a second through a good save from Muslera, and drew 3 fouls. Germany ends the World Cup in convincing fashion.
- September 3, 2010 - Germany beats Belgium, 1-0
Germany opens the Euro qualifying campaign, and Müller assists on the only goal of the match with a slick pass to Klose. Also draws 4 fouls (most of anyone in the match) and worries the Turkish defense all day.
- September 7, 2010 - Germany beats Azerbaijan, 6-1
Müller plays 61 minutes before being substituted with Germany already in control. Looked sharp, but so did the whole side.
- October 8, 2010 - Germany beats Turkey, 3-0
This was the match where Turkish fans crowded the stadium in Berlin. With Bastian injured, Müller had to play more of a support role, setting up the attack with passing and deep-lying play. Germany dominates the midfield and seizes control of the group with a win.
- October 12, 2010 - Germany beats Kazakhstan, 3-0
Not the greatest match for Müller - he had a few good passes, but missed a chance of his own and was substituted early in the second half. I actually remember this as a match where no one looked that great, despite the final score-line.
- March 26, 2011 - Germany beats Kazakhstan, 4-0
Tommy follows up a mediocre national-side performance with one of his best. Two goals, a host of dangerous runs, and teamed up with Mesut to thrash the Kazakh back line basically every time either of them touched the ball. This one could easily have finished 6 or 7 to nil. Also the first Germany match since I took over the old blog.
- June 3, 2011 - Germany beats Austria, 2-1
A close match, but Müller was one of the decisive factors as Germany rolls on. He drew 6 of Austria's 15 fouls, as he and Podolski created a number of chances and Gomez scored twice.
- June 7, 2011 - Germany beats Azerbaijan, 3-1
More of an Özil match, as Müller was competent but not outstanding, and left with a few minutes to go.
- September 2, 2011 - Germany beats Austria, 6-2
The Özil and Müller show rolls on. Tommy bags 3 assists, Mesut has 2 goals and an assist of his own, and Germany clinches a spot in the European Championships.
- October 7, 2011 - Germany beats Turkey, 3-1
Müller scores to put Germany up 2-0 in the second half. When Turkey gets a late goal to threaten to ruin Germany's perfect run, Müller draws a penalty in the box. Bastian converts to kill off the tie.
- October 11, 2011 - Germany beats Belgium, 3-1
Die Nationalelf complete the perfect qualifying campaign with a convincing win. Müller plays well, sets up the first goal, and has a few good passes, but doesn't find the score sheet and gets substituted after 70 minutes.
- June 9, 2012 - Germany beats Portugal, 1-0
Gomez got the goal with a surprisingly good header. Müller doesn't look his best, though he avoids any huge mistakes. All around, not a great performance from anyone on the team, but got the vital win to open the tournament.
- June 13, 2012 - Germany beats Netherlands, 2-1
Müller starts to find his form on that right side. He doesn't do anything amazing, but looks much better and threatens the Dutch defense on numerous occasions.
- June 17, 2012 - Germany beats Denmark, 2-1
Took a while to kill off a determined Danish side. None of the regulars had a great match, as Schürrle and Bender carry the team. Müller looks solid - his only chance came in the first 10 minutes, which he failed to bury. They said his pass to Poldi (which led to the goal) brushed Gomez on the way over, so they took away his assist on that. Bullshit.
So, the kid's record over the past 18 matches: 7 goals, 7 assists (would be 8 and 8 if we were counting the full WC, but this run starts after the Serbia loss), over 30 fouls drawn, one World Cup Golden Boot, and 18 consecutive wins. I know, he's not the only great player on the team. Everyone has been contributing. But I also don't know of any player anywhere who has won 19 of his first 20 competitive matches - especially against the caliber of competition involved here. The Serbia match at the WC is the only time Müller has ever put on Die Schwarz, Rot und Gold and failed to win. And he always seems to pull out the best performance when the stakes are the highest. Which does not augur well for Italy. Thanks for reading.