After Germany had another disaster tournament at World Cup 2022, it looked like Thomas Muller would retire from international football and focus fully on Bayern Munich. While not necessarily definitive, his announcement after the Costa Rica game had the tinge of finality to it.
However, it doesn’t look like the Raumdeuter is 100% done with international football yet. Speaking to the media at Bayern’s winter training camp in Qatar, Muller committed to being available for the national team for the foreseeable future. This surprised Lothar Matthaus, who expected the player to focus on his club football career going forward.
Lothar Matthäus on Thomas Müller's decision to continue with the national team: "His decision comes as a surprise to me because I thought he would only focus on Bayern Munich for the next three to five years." [@kessler_philipp] pic.twitter.com/Q2xKlewOxp— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) January 9, 2023
“But I’m happy for Thomas,” continued Matthaus, “that he still has the ambition to play for the German national team. If he believes he can do it and performs well, then he’s welcome to.”
“Of course, Euro 2024 in Germany is also a motivation for Thomas. I would be happy if he wins the European Championship, the only major title he hasn’t won yet.”
Would Thomas still get minutes in a squad that’s well-equipped at his position? Matthaus seems to think so.
“If Thomas is available, the coach will build on him,” said the former Ballon d’Or winner. “I know Hansi. Of course he relies on young players, but Thomas Müller still enjoys big trust due to his success, experience and way of playing.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Muller will walk into the starting XI from here on out. Matthaus expects a lot of competition between him and the younger players Germany seems to be developing for the position.
“He [Muller] is a leader,” said Matthaus. “The young players look up to him and ask him questions. But there are many other players in his position in the national team. The competition is very big behind the striker with Jamal Musiala, Florian Wirtz and Kai Havertz.”
Will he be able to see off the competition? It’ll be tough, as Jamal Musiala especially looks like a generational talent. In the end, the question falls to the coach. Where will Thomas Muller’s international career go from here?