Thomas Müller has been looking better than ever under Hansi Flick. When Flick became the coach of Bayern Munich, he finally put Müller in his favorite position — right behind Robert Lewandowski. In a very interesting interview with the Independent, we get to see how Thomas Müller thinks and how he uses the space on the field to his advantage.
Müller insists that being the Raumdeuter doesn’t require special talent. Müller is sure that using space, can be coached and learned. “For example, the ball is on the left-wing, and the left winger is dribbling, but there is no option to cross. So he passes the ball back, maybe diagonally, to defensive midfield, or back to the left-back. Every opponent defender is looking at the ball like a zombie. So it’s clear that the space behind the diagonal cross in the right part of the box is empty and clear. You can make a run from the right side, on the offside line, and then cut in.”
Müller also adds that you need a perfect cross for the run to be successful. He says that the ball must not be aimed at the attacker’s head, but rather in the space ahead of him. Mostly because the ball in space will make it hard for the defender to make a clearance and there is a greater chance of him making a mistake.
Another element for the Raumdeuter is repetition. “Maybe it’s special that one of my strengths is I do it again and again and again. Every good striker or good attacking midfielder knows that these runs are very dangerous for the opponents’ defense, but some are maybe not strong enough to do it 50 times. Maybe 49 times you don’t get the ball, or you lose it. Football is a game of many, many mistakes – especially in attack. We have to try it again, try it again, then maybe the defender makes a mistake at the 51st time. Then you can score.”
Müller then continued by saying that every coach has to have a tactical plan. Louis van Gaal was one of the first offensive tacticians in the Bundesliga, for Müller, but says that Pep Guardiola was masterful. He would have everything planned but could change the plan entirely after just 10 minutes of the match.
Müller also talked about his partnership with Robert Lewandowski and explains why it is so lethal. “He knows that when I look up, I try to find him. I always try to find the straightest way to the goal as possible, and normally that’s the striker. He knows I don’t play for the circus shot, I play for scoring. He’s our best scorer, and I try to give him the ball in that situation, and he can score. Normally he does.”