In a world of Barcelona’s, Bayern Munich will never be regarded as true favorites to win the Champions League, but it’s hard to argue with two finals in three seasons, while playing excellent football in both the Bundesliga and the UCL, having quite a few players having career-best seasons, with possibly no one better than Thomas Müller.
Müller began his actual Bayern career in 2009, after spending his early years with the Bayern Munich II side. He scored two goals in a 5-1 win against Dortmund, and truly arrived by scoring two goals on his Champions League debut, beating Maccabi Haifa 3-0. His breakout season in 2009-2010 ended with Bayern winning the league title and losing in the Champions League final. He was also one of the biggest stars in the 2010 World Cup, scoring 5 goals in a semifinal finish.
Since then? It seemed like he was trotting in the same place. It’s hard to find something Müller isn’t good at – he’s a smart player that can play on the wing and behind the striker. He knows how to play with his face to the goal or as a receiving player. He’s fast, but not incredibly fast. He’s good in the air; strong enough. Good enough vision, can use both feet. Good, 8 out of 10, in pretty much everything. But at some point, for both himself and Bayern’s sake, there needs to come a time when some of those 8’s turn into 9’s. When you’re such a complete player at the age of 20, at 23 you need to start showing you’re more than just a useful, good all-around player.
It looks like Bayern’s return to dominate the Bundesliga is in direct correlation with Müller becoming that extra something we’ve been expecting him to. He has scored 11 goals and added 9 assists so far this season. The absence of Arjen Robben has given him his favorite place on the right wing once again, and Bayern, along with the fantastic seasons by Toni Kroos, Mario Mandzukic and Franck Ribery, have looked unstoppable most of the time.
And now comes the last state, the final 9 weeks of the decision that will be the focus point of everyone. Champions League vs Arsenal. For a second time in a knockout stage, a British team and Bayern are the favorites. They’re simply in too good of form to somehow miss out on another deep run in the competition, losing in penalties last season, feeling, like most of the world, they were slightly robbed of a rightful title against Chelsea. Müller scored in that final, substituted a minute before conceding the equalizer. This time, keeping him on might be the smarter thing to do, no matter the result.