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Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel details why he started Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting over Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry vs. FC Köln

If not now, then when?

1. FC Köln v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Like many, you might have been expecting to see Thomas Müller in the lineup for Bayern Munich during the team’s 1-0 win over FC Köln.

Instead, though, head coach Thomas Tuchel opted for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, which he explained in an interview with DAZN (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

“Köln are very strong in set pieces — and Choupo is very good at defending set pieces. Offensively, he’s really good in the air. We expect a very high pressing from Köln and that’s why we can also use Choupo for long balls because he can hold the ball well,” Tuchel told DAZN. “We simply see other reasons in training. Choupo was in training all week. It’s also important to find a mix between those who are in the rhythm of the national team, but also those who, like Choupo, have trained well all week.”

While that all might sound reasonable, there is reason to think Tuchel just does not value Müller — and potentially Serge Gnabry as well — as much as some past managers given the lack of game time for Der Raumdeuter.

⚠️ Thomas Müller unexpectedly on the bench tonight. Nevertheless, FC Bayern very open to extend the contract with him beyond 2024. Concrete talks will follow in the next weeks/months.

➡️ Been told that ManUtd is not seriously interested in signing him at this stage. Neither in winter nor in summer 2024 | #MUFC

Müller, legend of the club. Very difficult situation under Tuchel.


Müller’s game time is expected to be reduced even further once Jamal Musiala is cleared to return to game action, which could come as early as next week.

Tuchel double down on his decision and tried to explain it even further (while reiterating some of his previous points).

“We wanted to have Choupo because of his height and ability in the air. We knew Köln would press high so we wanted to have those long balls towards Choupo. It was a decision for Choupo, not against Thomas. At Bayern, there will always be situations like that where players are sitting on the bench and want to start and have the quality to start,” Tuchel told DAZN.

Regardless, the Bavarians secured the victory and ran out of Cologne with three points, which is all that matters to Tuchel.

Looking for more thoughts and analysis from Bayern Munich’s win over FC Köln? Then check out our newest podcast episode! Listen to it below or on Spotify.

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