They were bitter rivals during Jurgen Klopp’s managerial tenure in the Bundesliga with both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, but the Liverpool manager is a big fan of Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller. They had countless battles in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and even the Champions League final in 2013, which Bayern won.
Liverpool and Bayern did square off in the Champions League round of 16 back in 2019, but Muller was suspended for both legs due to previously getting a red card against Ajax and was unable to help prevent Liveprool from winning 3-1 on aggregate. The former Dortmund and Mainz manager would’ve loved the opportunity to have worked with Muller at some point in his career (Tz).
Of all of the encounters Muller has had against Klopp’s Dortmund side, he’s tallied five goals against them. Of course, Klopp’s side beat Bayern to the Meisterschale in both 2011 and 2012, but that’s the last time anyone else besides Bayern has won the Bundesliga. The most recent triumph Klopp had over Muller prior to the Champions League with Liverpool was the 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-finals, which Dortmund won on penalties, but the went on to lose the final against VfL Wolfsburg.
“When you play against him, it’s really uncomfortable. You can really see his dislike for anything that is not Bayern Munich. This downright obsession makes it really difficult to change a word in any way,” Klopp describes in the new “FC Bayern — Behind The Legend” documentary on Amazon Prime. While there is a very slim chance the two would ever work together before they both wind up retiring from playing and managing, respectively, Klopp admits that they would “have a really good time together” if it were ever to happen. Unfortunately for Klopp, Muller is slated to soon follow suite from both Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka to sign a contract extension with Bayern as well as Serge Gnabry.
Jupp Heynckes once described Muller as having a certain “effervescence” when describing what he’s able to do on the pitch. Klopp shared Heynckes’s sentiment by saying Muller is “incredibly efficient and incredibly clever for football. His movements sometimes look a bit rustic, but are so often so incredibly correct and almost ingenious.”
Klopp’s certainly hit the nail on the head in describing Muller’s slightly unorthodox ability to constantly take advantage of his spatial awareness and create spaces for both himself and his teammates regardless of where he is on the pitch. While the likelihood of them working together at this point is very slim to none, Bayern and Liverpool could very well wind up meeting each other once again in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Both sides have enjoyed fantastic group stage campaigns thus far, both having won all four of their matches thus far, officially clinching their advancement.