FC Bayern: Thomas Tuchel’s questionable handling of Thomas Müller

FC Bayern: Thomas Tuchel’s questionable handling of Thomas Müller

His last international business trip of the year began on Monday afternoon. Thomas Müller flew with FC Bayern to Manchester, where his team will play against United in the last preliminary round game of the Champions League on Tuesday (9 p.m., Amazon Prime). As first in the table, the Munich team has already qualified for the round of 16 before the game at Old Trafford, which will be drawn on December 18th.

Müller can hope to play in Manchester from the start. Finally again. It would only be the world champion’s second starting eleven appearance in this premier class season, only the seventh overall this season. In the 16 competitive games so far he has played 599 minutes – even goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper who was injured for a year, has already played more after his return a few weeks ago.

The Bayern legend Müller is only a replacement under Thomas Tuchel, the coach demoted him to a bench warmer – he was untouchable for years and is now obviously dispensable for Tuchel. The team urgently needs a boss on the pitch. This was shown by the embarrassments of the past week: exit in the DFB Cup against third division club 1. FC Saarbrücken, 1:5 in the Bundesliga at Eintracht Frankfurt. The coach’s questionable handling of the crowd’s favorite is causing discussions.

Coach Thomas Tuchel (r.) substituted Thomas Müller late in Frankfurt

Source: AFP/DANIEL ROLAND

Tuchel recently even preferred Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, using the Cameroon international in the ten-man position from the start in the 1-0 away win against 1. FC Köln two weeks ago and in the 1-5 away win against Eintracht last Saturday . Tuchel only substituted Müller in Frankfurt in the 66th minute when the score was 1:5 – some saw this as a humiliation.

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Jamal Musiala was injured recently – but Müller is still at the back. And after the defeats, he is the only player to take part in interviews. Captain Neuer and midfielder Joshua Kimmich ducked after the embarrassment in Frankfurt; Kimmich has not commented after games for weeks. Only Müller took responsibility in the stadium after the debacle in Frankfurt.

Matthäus finds: Kimmich is hiding

Record national player Lothar Matthäus said about Kimmich on Sky: “Not only is he no longer as present on the pitch, he is no longer as present after the game either. And there are probably reasons for that.” And further: “He’s hiding.” The world champion emphasized that Kimmich “was actually always someone – at least six months or a year ago – who clearly expressed his opinion to the camera even after losing games.”

Why is this different now? Matthew has an explanation. “Kimmich has really gotten a lot of heat over the last two years – including from us, because he didn’t perform as well as we expected from him.” Tuchel also publicly questioned Kimmich last summer through his demands for a new midfielder (“Holding Six”). All of this probably “left its mark.”

Müller was asked at the weekend whether it annoys him having to explain everything after games – even though he came on late as a substitute in Frankfurt. “No not at all. That’s part of the job,” said Müller. “Even though we obviously hate to lose.” The other players would also give interviews often enough: “But of course: if you have a penalty taker who converts very confidently, then you send him to the point. When it comes to interviews, Manuel Neuer and I are the most experienced here. That’s why I keep showing up there. It wouldn’t be smart if the 19-year-olds stood here now and perhaps allowed themselves to be led onto the slippery ice.”

On the field, Bayern are missing players that others can rely on. The Munich team has problems coming back in a game after sporting setbacks. Professional midfielder Leon Goretzka admitted on ZDF: “You try to take control of the game, to give security to your teammates who feel unsettled by mistakes and to encourage them. I couldn’t do that today either. This has to be said very clearly. That’s a point I want to work on.” Superstar Harry Kane scores a lot of goals, but after just four months in Munich it’s still not clearer the Lead player.

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Although Müller doesn’t play much, he continues to show his qualities as a preparer. According to data provider Opta, the 34-year-old created the most big chances and the second most shots on goal per 90 minutes of all players in Europe’s top leagues with at least 300 minutes of action this league season (1.6 and 3.8). He also prepared four goals in the league.

Müller’s contract with Bayern ends on June 30 next year. In an interview with WELT AM SONNTAG he just said: “The mutual bond between FC Bayern and me is enormous. We will have discussions. Let’s see what happens.”

On Sunday afternoon, sports director Christoph Freund commented on Sport 1: “There are discussions with Thomas and his advisor. Thomas Müller represents FC Bayern Munich like almost no one else. Thomas knows what he has at FC Bayern. It’s very rare that the relationship between a club and a player is so intense and fits so well.” Asked whether he was optimistic about the extension of the contract, Freund said: “I’m always optimistic.” Club president Herbert Hainer wishes so that Müller will play for Munich until the end of his career.

682 competitive games for FC Bayern

Müller is a face of FC Bayern. He has been playing for the record champions for 23 years, playing 682 competitive games (237 goals) for his only professional club to date, as well as 126 international games (45 goals). He is an identification figure and has joined the ranks of club legends Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeneß, Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner and Sepp Maier. Müller accepts his “part-time role” and handles the situation professionally.

But at 34, before what could be his last contract, he has to consider whether his career can end with dignity under Tuchel. The 50-year-old coach’s contract with Bayern is valid until the summer of 2025. Müller wants to play until then, he feels fit and is almost never injured. He has to make a groundbreaking decision: Bayern forever? Or maybe another club change?

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There could be a change at Bayern next summer. Kimmich, Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies, who has been dreaming of Real Madrid and has recently been weak, are under special observation and have to prove themselves. Müller is still important in the dressing room, his word carries weight, the young players look up to him.

Thomas Müller is an extremely sensitive personality – which is likely to become a challenge or even a political issue for FC Bayern in the coming weeks. “We will end the Champions League year with a clean performance,” announced Müller. “The heroic deeds will then take place in the spring.” He hopes to be able to do his part.

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