In what’s only felt like a blink of an eye since the last international break, Bayern Munich’s stars have already broken out for another one for various friendlies, UEFA Nations League matches, and World Cup qualifiers. This will be the second look at Hansi Flick’s German national team after collecting nine points form the previous three qualifiers during the last international break, cementing their spot at the top of UEFA World Cup qualifying Group J.
For Flick, the Bayern contingent brings about a plethora of familiar faces that he won the treble with a little over a year ago. Flick taking over for Niko Kovac in November of 2019 brought up a swift resurgence to Thomas Muller’s form and he’s carried that over to Die Mannschaft ever since Joachim Low made the decision to reinstate him into the squad. He’s once again an integral part of the German squad and a perfect liaison between Flick and the rest of the squad as one of the true, veteran players in the squad.
In a press conference today ahead of Germany’s qualifier against Romania on Friday, Muller answered questions about what his role has been like under Flick on Die Mannschaft and what’s it like working with him at the national team, and not Bayern (SPOX).
Julian Nagelsmann recently referred to Muller as a sort of “player/manager” when talking about his worth to the squad. He’s a mainstay in Nagelsmann’s starting lineups for the most part, but Muller said that Flick has his own set of decisions to make for his squad selections in the qualifiers and friendlies in the buildup to the World Cup in Qatar next year. “The distribution of roles in soccer changes very quickly, it can turn several times within a game. For me, this strict distribution of roles that people like to talk about doesn’t exist in this way, especially in a national team, especially in our cycle. We are in the qualifying games a year before the tournament,” he explained.
“There are a lot of players in my position. Hansi will have to make decisions there that aren’t easy. That’s what he’s there for, to set the course. We players are there to make sure we follow that route,” Muller continued, suggesting that no one’s role on the national team is set in stone, so to speak.
Most players have a set position that best suits them that, in a way, clearly defines their role in any given team, but what makes Muller’s case even stronger, is his ability to play several different roles, both positionally and tactically. He’s worth his weight in gold in that sense, but even he realizes that this roles can change very quickly in a national team.
It’s obvious that Flick made Bayern tick during his time as manager there. The way he had that group of players playing is nothing short of remarkable and the run they went on, en route to securing the “sextuple” was truly amazing. While the German national team always has a heavy Bayern presence, it’s still a different beast altogether, as Muller emphasized. “The coach has brought over some elements that made us strong during his time at Bayern. But he also brought other things with him. This is more of a project management here at the DFB, you have to see the big picture. We’re still at the beginning here,” the Raumdeuter explained.