When the German national football team competes in the upcoming European Nations Cup “Euro 2020”, Thomas Muller is expected to have a clear goal on and off the field, which is to prove that he was not the player who deserves to be excluded from the ranks of the Germans over the last period.
Germany coach Joachim Loew has returned Muller and defender Mats Hummels to the ranks of Mannschaft in preparation for Euro 2020, knowing that the players have not participated with the team for more than two and a half years, specifically since the team drew with its Dutch counterpart 2/2 in November 2018.
“They will do a good job on the field,” said coach Markus Sorge, assistant coach of the German national team. Five years ago, Muller’s goal was to have a prominent role in leading the team, to add the European title in Euro 2016 in France to the world title, which the team won in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But Muller’s goal now will be different, as he wants to prove to Loew’s coach and the team’s followers that he did not deserve to be excluded over the past 30 months from the ranks of the team.
Certainly, the chances of winning the Euro 2020 title seem much lower than they were in winning the European title during the last edition of the tournament. Some sporting critics in the past have argued that Bayern Munich star Müller can’t do many things, but even if he ignores his positioning and his ability to score at the right time, he appears to be more than just a goalscorer.
Muller said, in an interview published by Eight By Eight magazine years ago: I know I make some technical mistakes from time to time… It’s one of the faces of the game I’ve been playing for years.
He added: I think I succeeded in reducing the number of these technical errors to the fewest number possible, but they happen sometimes, and on the other hand, there are moments of artistic brilliance. But the player added to his potential more, as he confirmed in the past and current seasons that he has a great determination to succeed and that he never gives in to despair.
And only about two years ago, many reports indicated that Muller might leave Bayern’s accounts, and that he might leave the team not only because of his exit from Loew’s accounts in the Manschaft, but because the player’s performance level declined.
But coach Hansi Flick rediscovered Muller, “the king of spaces”, with his responsibility for the team in the middle of the 2019/2020 season, succeeding Croatian coach Niko Kovac.
After Muller’s score was limited to only nine goals in the 2018/19 season in various tournaments, his score increased in the past two seasons to 14 and 15 goals, respectively, in various tournaments.
Muller himself once admitted that he is not very fast and is not a good dribble, as one sports critic in the British newspaper “The Guardian” stated: Muller is not quite a playmaker, nor is he a striker anyway, and he does not have huge potential both physically and technically.
Even his former Dutch colleague Arjen Robben joked that Muller never gets injured because he doesn’t have muscles, as his body consists only of skin and bone.
Despite this, Muller has an unparalleled talent for taking the appropriate places on the field, knowing that the exploitation of empty spaces in the game of football has become very important in everything from passing through to making attacks to finding the right places inside the penalty area to score goals.
Muller, 31, scored 38 goals in 100 international matches with the German national team, and crossed the 200-goal mark with Bayern Munich in various tournaments, to rank fifth in the team’s top scorer list throughout history. The difference between Muller and the legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who is third in this list, is no more than three goals, which means that he can snatch third place from Rummenigge next season.
Muller was the top scorer in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and also contributed to the Mannschaft’s winning the next edition of the tournament, in 2014 in Brazil. With Bayern, Muller scored the historic triple “League, German Cup and Champions League” in 2013 and 2020, in addition to winning more than one other title with the team in the German League and German Cup.
And the Dutchman, Louis van Gaal, the current coach of Manchester United, had previously supervised the training of Muller in the Bayern team years ago, and Van Gaal worked on the basis of “Muller always plays.” And it seemed that Spain’s Pep Guardiola, who coached Bayern for three seasons from 2013 to 2016, followed the same path until the surprise of Muller on the bench at the end of the 2015/16 season.
It was very possible for Muller to face this with enormous anger and disappointment like other stars, but he acted calmly and did not care about this much and did not give in to despair despite the fact that Kovac did not rely on him heavily, until Bayern’s march with Flick came to restore the freshness of Muller’s football career.
This calmness was not surprising from Mueller, who was known for his humor and quick wit in dealing with colleagues, fans and the media.