When news broke just a few weeks ago that Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller would be shifting to play striker from his normal attacking midfield position to accommodate emerging superstar Jamal Musiala, it was a bit surprising because of how quickly the situation is moving.
Now, though, reality is starting to take shape and Abendzeitung journalist Maximilian Koch issued a report looking at Julian Nagelsmann’s primary plan for how to use Müller moving forward:
As AZ has learned, Müller is also planned as a central attacker at FC Bayern in the second half of the season. He will compete with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (33), who was very strong in the first half of the season. Already in the autumn crisis of Munich, the coaching team around head coach Julian Nagelsmann had the idea of nominating Müller as a nine. But then the veteran kept struggling with injuries and Choupo-Moting took his chance. From the start of training on January 3rd, the hot duel between Müller and Choupo begins, with which talks about a contract extension are pending. Choupo-Moting’s contract expires after this season, the Cameroonian no longer wants to be just a backup.
Of course, Musiala’s game-changing ability has made him the first choice for the No. 10 role:
An important reason for Müller’s retraining: Jamal Musiala (19), the only German bright spot at the World Cup, should play in his desired position as a ten in the future. From there, Musiala can best bring in his goal threat and creativity. Only striker remains for Müller. Things could get even more complicated for the Bayern legend in the summer, because the Munich management is looking for a new top center-forward.
The last part there is key. Müller’s move to striker is just a band-aid at this stage because the club is fully intent on pursuing a traditional No. 9 in the summer. Is Müller slowly being phased out? Fans will surely watch with intrigue, but things are not looking great for the veteran.
Koch also indicated Müller and Choupo-Moting could actually play together in a front two, but that seems less likely considering some of the other attacking players available would be sent to the bench.
Despite his tough showing at the World Cup, Müller did play pretty well in the Hinrunde. These decisions can happen quick, however. For fans of the Raumdeuter, you can take solace in knowing he will be given the chance to rise to the occasion one more time and embrace the striker role.
Can he take advantage of the opportunity? Many will be watching closely.