Thomas Muller was a central figure in international football’s most extraordinary game. Last night, he repeated the trick in one of club football’s most-thrilling encounters.
The German forward opened the scoring in his country’s 7-1 mauling of hosts Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. Last night, he did exactly the same to kickstart Bayern Munich’s 8-2 drubbing of Lionel Messi’s Barcelona.
Thomas Muller: The Striker Who Continues to Perform in Football’s Biggest Moments
How the Man Himself Compared the Two Games
“This is reminding me of when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 at the World Cup. You knew after 10 minutes that if they didn’t do anything about it that it was going to keep on going. It’s exactly the same here,” the former England winger said after Muller converted his second on 31 minutes.
Barcelona were unable to do anything to stem the tide, and Muller himself provided a similar assessment after full-time.
“In the win in Brazil we didn’t have the same amount of control,” he said. “Yes, we were good, but tonight the way we dominated the game was brutal.”
Controlled brutality is a somewhat fitting way to describe Muller’s game. Off the pitch, the forward is known as a light-hearted character in and around his club. But, once he sets foot on the field of play, there is no more business-like a footballer in the global game.
This is evident even in the way he celebrates his goals. Muller has never been one for flashy celebrations. Instead, there is a cold-eyed aggression to his character after he puts the ball in the net. The message is clear: Job done; now we pick the ball up and do the same again.
Why Muller Remains Underrated
Though we have become used to seeing Muller scoring goals and winning trophies for over a decade, the full scale of his achievements tends to pass unnoticed around Europe.
Many forget that nobody scored more goals than a teenage Thomas Muller at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Four years later, he won football’s biggest prize with his country.
In the years since, the creative talents of the Bayern Munich star have often gone under the radar too.
For all the talk of Kevin de Bruyne drawing level with Thierry Henry’s Premier League record assists tally of 20 in 2019/20, Muller quietly went about his business in Germany and actually broke the Bundesliga record for assists registered in a single campaign. His 21 assists last season allowed him to become the perfect foil to Robert Lewandowski’s personal best campaign as a goalscorer.
For Bayern Munich, now, Muller has recorded 199 goals and 193 assists in 533 games. Having swept Barcelona aside, many expect him to add another Champions League medal to his 23 major trophies at club and international level.
Such a contribution to a massive haul of silverware has cemented Thomas Muller’s status as a German footballing legend. Outside of his own country, it is time the rest of the football community acknowledged his greatness.
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