Can Thomas Muller Be the Difference for Bayern Munich in Champions League?
By Nicholas Spiller
Thomas Muller is remarkably only 22 years old, yet his resume of success resembles that of an aged soccer veteran who has endured a fruitful career. The German attacker has drawn multitudes of praise during his first few seasons, emerging as a prolific scorer for both his country and club, Bayern Munich.
Making his breakthrough to the first team at Munich in 2009, Muller quickly took his opportunity and began scoring goals. In September, only weeks into the season, he scored a series of braces that resulted in him being named the Bundesliga player of the month. He never looked back and became a regular starter in the team.
Muller is an extremely versatile forward. Although he began his youth soccer career as a midfielder, his attacking prowess has forced managers to deploy him further up the pitch. For Bayern Munich, he typically plays center forward, just behind the main striker. It is a massively important task as the attack almost always flows through this player. His responsibility to make that final pass or run is paramount to Bayern’s success.
In early 2010, Thomas Muller began to play in the German national team. This coincided well with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the summer. Muller started for Germany in the group stage, making only his third international appearance on the global stage. He scored his first international goal in that game against Australia.
The tournament proved to be very successful for Muller. He amassed five goals and three assists. He scored twice in a knockout round match against England, and opened the scoring in the quarterfinals as Germany defeated Argentina. Unfortunately, Muller was suspended for the semifinal loss against Spain, and one must wonder how the game would have turned out had he been eligible to play. He was named the best young player of the tournament and won the Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals.
Proving so potent at such a young age is largely due in part to Muller’s calm demeanor. Joachim Low, the German manager, has declared that Muller is “impervious to pressure”, and his composure in front of goal clearly highlights that. He also has great awareness to make smart runs and repeatedly finds himself in the right position at the right time. He can feel where the play will move to and always seems to be there when the ball arrives for that final stroke. Watch this clip of some fantastic goals by the young star:
So what’s next for the young Muller? Two great tournaments lie ahead. Bayern Munich faces Real Madrid over the next week in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Muller was part of the squad that lost in the 2010 finals to Inter Milan so he will definitely want to win this year. This summer should provide more opportunities as the EURO 2012 tournament commences in June. Germany, as always, will be one of the favorites. Perhaps if they meet Spain along the way again, Muller will be able to aid his team in their attempt to defeat the world champions this time around.
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.