For the first time since Germany crashed out of the World Cup, Thomas Muller spoke in an interview with Sky Germany after a charity golf tournament for the Young Wings foundation. By now, he’s had a good few weeks to rest and recuperate after the disappointing tournament, but still admitted that Die Mannschaft simply were not good enough in Russia:
Of course the group stage exit hurt. You think about what caused it. The subject is very multifaceted and in soccer there is no one solution. It’s a fact that we scored too few goals; we were not good enough.
Turning the experience into a positive, though, Muller feels that the magnitude of the disappointment will only help him stay increasingly motivated for the upcoming season with Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft friendlies/qualifiers:
I have learned that the biggest defeats — as much as they hurt — are also the biggest motivators for the future, both in the near future, as far as the beginning of the season in a week is concerned, and for the upcoming duties with the national team.
For Bayern, it’s the start of a new chapter under new manager Niko Kovac, to whom the World Cup stars have not yet returned to at Säbener Strasse and will not be going to the United States for the summer Audi Tour. The rest of the squad already has a few weeks training under their belts with Kovac, including loan returnee Renato Sanches and new signing Serge Gnabry. Muller is remaining quite optimistic about the upcoming season with a new manager, but admitted it will take a little while for all of the players to completely click:
We have a completely new season ahead of us; everyone has to get to know one another. Everyone feels positive about the new time together. Both the team and the coaching staff have big goals. That fits this feeling of transition that you feel. I’m looking forward to it very much. FC Bayern sets the highest goals, the highest ambitions. We also know that we first have to get used to one another — the team and the coaching staff. That’s why I’m also not presuming that everything will go smoothly from the get-go. But I’m extremely excited about the new tasks at hand.
Muller, along with all of Bayern’s World Cup stars will have a few weeks to train with the rest of the squad before their season opener against Hoffenheim on August 24th, not to mention the DFL Supercup that’s scheduled for August 12th vs. Eintracht Frankfurt. For Muller, he’ll personally be looking to improve upon the 15 goals and 18 assists he recorded across all competitions in the 2017/2018 season en route to Bayern’s sixth consecutive Bundesliga title, falling just short in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League. For Muller, Kovac, and Bayern, the goal for 2018/2019 is simple; more than one piece of silverware.