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Thomas Müller’s story is not yet complete at Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller might have more to give than we might realize to Bayern Munich.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Thomas Müller wears the armband for now at Bayern Munich
Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Bayern Munich, as you know (or should know!!) have sacked Julian Nagelsmann. He is the third coach in a row to be sacked who did not really trust Thomas Müller in the big games. Also, if you didn’t know (you should, but it’s okay if you don’t), one of the most gifted German footballers of all time, Mesut Özil, retired recently.

Well, why should this matter when it comes to Bayern?

While Müller seems to be revered in Bavaria, some Bayern fans question his value to the team. And of course, it is easy to do so. Can he do the one trick over and over again like Arjen Robben did and score as many goals in the same manner? Can he counterattack at pace like Leroy Sané? Can he dribble past multiple players and put the ball in the back of the net like Jamal Musiala? The answer to the above questions is in the negative most of the time.

And yet, Müller has that intangible quality that is embodied in the Mia San Mia spirit — a history of success. Louis Van Gaal knew this like no other. Van Gaal, who handed Müller a permanent spot in the team, always had a soft spot for Müller. Per The Guardian:

When Louis van Gaal was at Bayern, he famously said: “In my team, Müller always plays.” And when Van Gaal then tried to lure the player to Old Trafford, Rummenigge rebuffed all advances by declaring that Müller was not for sale. “There are some players who do not come with a price tag,” Rummenigge said. “We’d be mad if we let Müller leave.”

Werder Bremen, in 2009-10, knew offers would come Özil’s way when Van Gaal was in charge at Bayern. And yet an offer did not come from the Bavarians. Needless to say. Müller is the reason why Bayern did not sign the mercurial Özil in 2009 when Van Gaal was in charge.

To this day, nobody can quite put their finger on what it is Müller does so brilliantly. But, everyone knows he does. Arjen Robben said this when Philippe Coutinho was in the side:

I’m a big fan of Thomas. He has qualities that no one in the team has. You need them, too. He’s a team player, he runs into space, goes deep. He’s a very, very important player for me and he has shown that, too. Look at the last phase of last season; he played outstandingly.

So, if his qualities are inexplicable and defy logic, yet his stats show brilliance, there must be something about Müller. He is the seventh highest scorer in Champions League history with 53 to his name. More impressively, fourteen of those came in the Round of 16, seven in the quarterfinals, four in the semifinals and one in a final. His tally in the knockout rounds is close to his tally in the group stages. When the stakes are high, Müller rises to the occasion. He is ninth on the all-time assists list as well.

He is quite literally the heartbeat of this team. Starting with Van Gaal and moving forward, the Bavarian remains a constant presence at Bayern.

Meanwhile, much more so-called “easy on the eye” players such as Kevin de Bruyne are not close to Müller in any of these lists. One can point to the fact that Müller has only played for Bayern and has hence played over 100 games in Europe’s most prestigious competition. Yet, as the firing of Nagelsmann shows, Bayern isn’t exactly a club who have the utmost patience when it comes to managers and players. Nobody makes it for too long at Bayern without having something extraordinary to consistently give to the team.

It isn’t exactly a coincidence that the second greatest era in Bayern history has coincided with Thomas Müller’s career at the club. For the eye-test, go back and look at the two legs Bayern played against PSG. Compare the massive improvement in the second leg compared to the first: Müller played in the second leg and the team performed much better. He has a football brain for the ages. He has earned the right to have a little say in how things work at Bayern.

He will not play forever; however, there is a way for him to slow down (Philipp Lahm knew when he was slowing down and Müller will too). In fact, considering that Müller spent nearly a month out injured this season, an anomaly for him, that day might not be too far away. However, just as Lahm was integral to Bayern until the day he retired, Müller will be too.

Müller is beloved in Bavaria and his voice matters for a reason. On a more personal note my favorite player on the team was Toni Kroos before he left the club. I really wanted Bayern to bring him back after his loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen. I have watched Müller from the beginning and remember his first Champions League goals against Sporting Lisbon fondly. It was only later in Müller’s value that I really began to understand his value — and why there is a reason why legends like Robben have such extraordinary praise for the Raumdeuter.

You don’t know sometimes what’s missing till it’s gone. One day, maybe even around the corner, Müller will hang up his boots and Bayern won’t necessarily be better for it. Enjoy him while you have him!

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