Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller isn’t letting his recent benching get him down. Finding himself out of the XI after the Men’s World Cup, Müller appeared to be on the outside looking in for a short while. But the Raumdeuter fought his way back and showed that over the course the season, every player’s time can come.
While Müller now seems indispensable once more, Manchester City loanee João Cancelo found himself a healthy scratch against VfB Stuttgart. The world-class fullback had a fast start to life in Bavaria, but sat all ninety minutes on the bench as Kingsley Coman, Josip Stanišić, and even Serge Gnabry found their way into the game sheet ahead of him.
“We’re a great team and we stick together,” Müller said after the game when asked about Cancelo’s benching (via @iMiaSanMia). “But I don’t do personnel debates here about who plays and who doesn’t play.”
The reality is that at a club like Bayern, talent is typically in abundance, even surplus. Between top-caliber players at the same position (Benjamin Pavard, Noussair Mazraoui) and tactical shifts that bring others (Coman, Gnabry) into the mix, it’s never easy to break into a Bayern lineup.
Yet at the same time, different games will call for different matchups, and we’ve seen what injuries can do. Bayern had to omit players from the gameday lineup, but it wasn’t long ago that they were fielding three goalkeepers in the 18, including one from the youth ranks.
It’s here that veteran leadership from players like Müller is especially invaluable. No player will want to feel second-choice, yet malcontent festers like an open wound. If even Müller can keep his head down and work his way back from a tough period out of the team, that bodes well for Bayern’s chances of keeping everybody rowing in the same direction.
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