Bayern Munich are due to face FC Barcelona in Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League, and this will be a tasty match-up. At the start of the season, Bayern were looking unstoppable while Barca still tried to find their footing. The script has been flipped; now Bayern look shaky while Barca seem to have found their stride.
Bayern’s very own Thomas Müller spoke to the press ahead of this massive Champions League game (captured by @iMiaSanMia). Müller said that the way teams in the Bundesliga and Champions League play are different and playing against Barcelona should be very interesting.
“We want to prevail in the duels, and we want to be active when we lose the ball. The game will be open”, Müller said. “In the Bundesliga we recently played against opponents who defended well. I think tomorrow it will be a game that neutral fans will like.”
The Champions League is probably the best way to introduce neutral fans to the game…and the best way to light a fire under players to perform better: “There are games that attract more attention, like CL games in San Siro or against Barcelona. That’s an extra motivation,” Müller said. “The attackers might run the extra yard that they might not do in the Bundesliga. It’s sometimes like that.”
“When top European teams meet, everyone is highly motivated”, Müller continued. “Of course, we are aware that Barcelona had a great start to the season. They already scored a lot of goals. I like them. We will push our limits to win the game tomorrow.”
If Bayern want to outsmart Barca, then how the team is set up is crucial to taking all three points. That might require communicating with the coach, which Müller said is completely normal. “Of course, you always exchange ideas with the coach. But the coach is the expert for load management, tactics, and the line-up”, said Müller. “He doesn’t need any tips for that from us. We talk, but that’s normal. The coach is the boss and has the final say, and that’s good.”
Bayern’s line-up looks much different this season, and a certain Robert Lewandowski now plays for the other FCB. Without a focal point in the attack, Müller pointed out that anyone in the attack can cause problems, but they should be efficient.
“Our connection on the pitch developed over the years”, the self-proclaimed Raumdeuter said. “But now we have a lot of flexible players up front, and we don’t have that one target man. The opponents don’t know who the target is in attack, but we have to make it work.”
Speaking of Lewandowski, Müller was advised by new signing Sadio Mané not to pass to the Polish striker by mistake. Passing to Lewandowski is something Müller has done for eight years, so will he exercise care in preventing that? “Sadio has been jokingly telling me for the last 10 days to be careful not to accidentally pass the ball to Lewy. We have to play our game tomorrow and not focus too much on Lewy,” Müller said.