Bayern Munich opened up the ruckrunde with a vital 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion thanks to goals from Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski (penalty), Thiago Alcantara, and Ivan Perisic. With a goal and an assist during his 87-minute shift, Muller was arguably one of the best players on the pitch for Bayern and he’s experienced quite the resurgence under Hansi Flick since Niko Kovac was dismissed.
Speaking after the match, Muller said that he felt Bayern was too patient in the first half, but ramped up their tempo in the second half to great effect (kicker):
From my point of view, we were too patient in the first half. In the second half, we were determined to push the pace up a bit.
Of course, Bayern had the lion’s share of possession in the first half and boasted more chances than Berlin, but none that really tested keeper Rune Jarstein. Bayern was perhaps preoccupied keeping an eye on the counter attacks that Berlin were trying to spring through pacey wingers Dodi Lukebakio and Javairô Dilrosun; Marko Grujić also posed a threat for Bayern as the linkup man through the middle.
In the second half, Berlin started to tire, and spaces started to open up for Bayern. They eventually broke the deadlock in the 60th minute through Muller’s goal, who recognized the amount of space Berlin allowed Bayern in the second half:
We made Hertha tired - then the gaps got bigger. Then when the knot was open, they didn’t fight back any more either.
Muller’s assist for Perisic’s goal was his 12th in the Bundesliga this season, which is the highest tally in the league thus far. The next highest assists tally is Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who has 10 so far, closely followed by teammate Thorgan Hazard, who has 9. In typical Thomas Muller fashion, the raumdeuter joked about how he prefers scoring goals himself as opposed to setting up his teammates, despite what his assist statistics say:
Because of my assist statistics, I was asked whether it wouldn’t be nicer to score myself. Your own goals are the most fun!
It was one of Muller’s strongest performances of the season thus far and he’s been proving under Flick why he should always be starting on the pitch when he’s fully fit and available. Despite his strong individual performance, Muller said the most important thing about the result was seeing the collective jubilation of the squad in the celebrations after the final whistle:
Today was a very nice day for me, of course also for the team, when the grown men are jumping around like little boys - there is nothing better.