When the chips are down, who you gonna call? Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller, of course.
The Raumdeuter extraordinaire inspired the Bavarians to rally and win last season’s title even — with a little help from Borussia Dortmund on the final matchday — even after all hope seemed lost. Now he finds his side once again looking up in the standings, this time at an impressive Bayer Leverkusen side coached by former Bayern great Xabi Alonso.
That means week to week, game by game, it is one eye on the scoreboard.
“We acknowledge Leverkusen’s performances, nothing more. On matchday you see who they are playing against and try to see the result. Then you hope: Hey, now drop some points. And when you realize it’s 3-0 for them at halftime - then you say to yourself: okay, damn it! We have to try again next week,” Müller explained in his recent interview for Sport Bild, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “We have big goals and have everything in our hands. Our focus is on our own game. We want to be champions.”
This season’s title challenge does not feel like that of previous years. While Bayern is chugging along — a strong if not dominant 13-2-1 record in its first 16 league games — Leverkusen is producing and maintaining points at a blistering pace. Die Werkself produced an undefeated first half, at 14-3-0.
Quite unlike BVB’s near-disruption of Bayern supremacy last season, which was aided by the Bavarians’ stumbles and lowest point total since 2011. Bayern could not simply take care of their own business, after all. Dortmund’s final-day collapse — was it aided by Müller’s posted video reminding them of the pressure? (so Sport Bild asked) — had to happen in order for Bayern’s title streak to continue.
Not that the Black and Yellows — a full 15 points off the top spot at the half-way mark — look likely to be in that conversation this year.
“I don’t think Dortmund will still be fighting for the title on the final matchday this season,” as Müller put it.