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FC Bayern: There is now hardly any doubt about Müller’s demotion

FC Bayern Munich Again just a noble reservist

There is hardly any doubt about Müller’s demotion

Status: 25.11.2023 | Reading time: 4 minutes

Thomas Tuchel is always a mystery. Although he once again warns about the high strain on his players, he will not change when FC Bayern wins in Cologne – and that before the upcoming deadline rush. He is also sending a signal to club legend Thomas Müller.

Once again Thomas Müller was not allowed to play. This time not even for the entire game. For a total of 93 minutes, the national striker just watched from outside as his FC Bayern won 1-0 (1-0) at 1. FC Köln. The 34-year-old kept looking towards coach Thomas Tuchel towards the sidelines while warming up. But he didn’t react. Not at all.

For the first time this season, a Bundesliga coach decided not to make a change entirely. This hadn’t happened at FC Bayern for what felt like an eternity. Almost exactly 13 years ago. In December 2010 (3-0 at FC St. Pauli), Louis van Gaal was the last Bayern coach to date who did not make substitutions in the league.

The mandatory task at relegation-threatened FC actually seemed predestined for the club legend to play (with the club since July 2000): starting ten Jamal Musiala had to miss out because of a small torn muscle fiber in his left thigh, and Müller was rested because of his lack of playing time with the DFB. But then the surprise: Tuchel left his number 25 out, giving preference to permanent reserve Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the position behind Harry Kane. Five starting eleven appearances and just 485 minutes of action after 19 games of the season so far leave little doubt that Müller will be demoted and will ultimately just be a benchwarmer under Tuchel.

“It was clearly not a punishment or a lesson,” said Tuchel after the success, which from Bayern’s point of view was more confident than the result indicated. He even apologized to his substitutes. “This doesn’t normally happen. They should all maintain the spirit they showed today and not hold it against me. And Thomas plays a big role for us, even if you can’t tell from the minutes right now.”

Thomas Müller played 452 competitive games (145 goals, 200 assists) for FC Bayern in the league alone. This season, however, he is having problems expanding his record

Source: picture alliance/SVEN SIMON/Anke Waelischmiller/Sven Simon

The explanation Tuchel presented was entirely plausible. “I didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm,” said the 50-year-old. “The control of the game was so high and the result was so close.” His team dominated FC at will, but failed to score more than Harry Kane’s incredible 18th goal of the season (20th minute) in the twelfth game before the break. So the result remained close. However, the team on the pitch determined the ball and the opponents. Tuchel saw no reason to endanger this sovereignty: “I just didn’t feel it today.”

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It was still strange. Because for the Bayern squad, which is not exactly large in terms of quantity, there are almost only English weeks left until Christmas. The Champions League continues on Wednesday. “We have to compete with good strength because Copenhagen has a good team,” noted goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. However, he certainly understood Tuchel’s explanations.

After the FC Bayern game, Tuchel followed up

Nevertheless: The Bayern coach himself had only criticized the (too) high burden on the industry’s top stars before the game. The players, this is also reflected to him by the national coaches, “who play at the highest level in the Champions League and national team – the feedback is that the boys are tired. They are mentally tired, they are emotionally tired and exhausted and they are physically tired.”

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After the game he upped the ante again. In 2024 in particular, Tuchel expects a “mental strain that is at the limit” and referred to the home European Championship in the summer and the reform of the Champions League, which will ensure “two to four” additional games. “That can be very exhausting,” he said and combined this with a clear demand to the Bayern bosses: “We have to react to that in the composition of the squad.”

Even before the game, Tuchel had criticized the scheduling of the classic in Cologne on a Friday after a week of international matches. Some of his many national players only arrived back in Munich on Thursday. “The conditions were extremely difficult. We were exhausted after the international break and then the Friday game,” said national player Leon Goretzka.

For players like Minjae Kim, the strain of travel was particularly stressful. “Now I don’t know what the time difference is with Korea. To play for 90 minutes here in Cologne in the evening is a great achievement,” said Neuer. “It is now important for some people to have some time off.” But there was no relief from the coach for the starting eleven on Friday.

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