The inevitable media narratives are swirling again — Bayern Munich have stumbled to fifth place in the Bundesliga after matchday seven, out of the Champions League places no less. And even though they are the top scorers in the league by four goals, questions abound over whether it's all the result of Robert Lewandowski's sensational transfer window departure to FC Barcelona.
For team captain and space-interpreting extraordinaire Thomas Müller, there are merits to the idea — but equally, enticing new developments in the Bayern attack which he and his teammates appreciate.
“There have been a few game situations this season in which I thought: Oh, there used to be someone you could pass to at the second post and with whom you looked for crosses,” said the Raumdeuter, speaking to Welt before the FC Augsburg contest at the weekend (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
“On the other hand, there have also been situations in which I thought: Wow, my teammate put the ball back for me quickly, without a long duel with the defender. For us as a team and for me individually, this new constellation is exciting and interesting.”
Müller knows the results have been unfortunate — and Saturday’s loss which broke Bayern’s 86-game Bundesliga scoring streak will have only added fuel to the fire. Still, media frenzy and reality are not the same thing, and the veteran tone-setter understands that:
Müller on how much the team misses Lewandowski: "With these 3 consecutive draws, we gave the media space for the interpretation that we might be doing better with Lewy - with a striker who scores around 50 goals per season across all competitions."— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 17, 2022
Whatever the pundits like to fill the airwaves with, then, at least the Bayern squad know the potential they have within their attacking unit — and what they need to do in order to achieve it.
“With the quality we have in attack, we can definitely score a lot of goals without a real striker,” Müller concluded. “Our pace is very difficult for opponents to defend. The calls for a No. 9 here and there will probably not stop — but we have to and can live with that.”
Once the goals start flowing again for Müller, Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry and co., that will all get easier. For now, it’ll have to be a nervy wait to the next Bayern game on September 30th against a wounded but talent-laden Bayer 04 Leverkusen team that’s currently fifteenth in the table.