Thomas Muller has been in fine form for Bayern Munich since Jupp Heynckes took charge of the club back in October for his fourth stint as manager. Since Heynckes’s arrival, Muller has scored 9 goals and provided 11 assists from a total of 21 appearances across competitions, having worn the captain’s armband on 16 of those occasions.
The manager has previously described Muller’s style of play as “effervescent,” given his versatility and effectiveness in the attacking third as Bayern score 2.76 goals/match in the league when Muller’s on the pitch vs. 1.76/match when he’s not. Under Carlo Ancelotti, Muller only tallied a goal and an assist in 9 appearances across competitions.
I am full of self-confidence again since Jupp Heynckes took over as coach, because he has placed a lot of faith in me. He immediately tried to spur me on during training and games, while making it clear that everything depends on performances on the pitch.
Despite the solid relationship that the two had developed during Heynckes’s previous tenures as Bayern manager, Muller admits that he’s still had to work incredibly hard to maintain a consistent spot in the starting eleven:
There was never any guaranteed playing time, but we talked a lot and he placed his trust in me. Jupp Heynckes clearly told me that we have a very strong squad so you need top performances. But, of course, his faith in me is stronger than it was before.
Looking forward, Muller’s confident his side is well within reach of securing the treble, insisting that there are a lot of similarities between the current team and team that achieved that feat in 2013 under Heynckes:
We are still going strong in all three competitions, the coaching staff is the same and we are on a good run. There are parallels to 2013 and we have big goals.
Thinking back to Bayern’s famous Champions League run in 2013, Muller reminisced on his performance in the 4-0 over Barcelona, claiming that it was his “best Champions League performance.” By stark contrast, he recalled the bitter feeling of losing to Chelsea in a penalty shootout in the 2012 final: “It doesn’t get any grimmer.”
The quarter-finals of the Champions League are right around the corner (April 3rd-4th, 10th-11th), and Bayern are one of the stronger sides of the eight that remain in the competition. With a favorable draw, they’ll have every chance of going the distance once again!
Since making his debut in 2008, no Bayern player has scored more goals in the Champions League than Thomas Muller (42), he is also a top assist provider in the Champions Leaue since March 2009 (15).— Bayern mania (@Bayern_mania) March 15, 2018
Bayern's leader in Champions League! pic.twitter.com/woHpcDDsbQ