A.Age discrimination is an important, but also a sensitive topic – especially if someone who is just 32 years old is addressed as potentially affected. But Hansi Flick had said in an interview that if there were two players of the same quality he would tend to choose the younger one. And so on Tuesday Thomas Müller was confronted with the question that should sound humorous, but also had a serious core: What that would mean for him in view of the wide – and also age-wise diversified – personnel offer in his field of work at the national team. Müller didn’t answer in a funny way, but wisely, and even a little surprisingly.
He did not take his Solomonic formula from the phrase book of football professionals, according to which there are no young or old, but only good and bad players. Müller’s definition spin started at a different point: that there are no “better” or “equally good” players, but rather those with different profiles – and that he still considers his to be contemporary, at least until next year’s World Cup in Qatar, he had already said that.
Müller can and perhaps no longer wants to be part of a youth movement, but he obviously feels carried away by the renewal of the national team even at an advanced age for professional footballers. On Tuesday he vividly described the experience in the 6-0 win against Armenia, when he was in the stands “participant and part of a wave going through the stadium”, but he also spoke of the progress on the pitch, it was “not just one Serious game ”was in Stuttgart, but there would have been“ nice moves, good goals ”and – last but not least – one to marvel at zero, unlike in many other games in recent years.
Will Müller become a profiteer?
More than just serious – whether the use of one of Joachim Löw’s favorite vocabulary should have a deeper meaning remains to be seen, after all, Müller had given a clear judgment about his hesitant approach after the EM: “With our endeavor, through a wait-and-see, compact defensive strategy if we didn’t concede a goal, we actually failed. ”What one can say in any case: Müller, who has seen quite a lot in football, sounds very happy with the (re) alignment under Flick. The new national coach approached the matter “with a lot of passion and expertise”, said Müller, and he himself would like to turn the flywheel a little that Flick started. “We are part of this sweeping movement,” he said.
With the continuation of the World Cup qualification in Hamburg against Romania (8:45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the international matches and on RTL), Müller could experience the new feeling on the pitch for the first time after an adductor injury put him out of action before Flick’s premiere in September would have. He did not want to claim the role in the offensive center for himself. “Especially in the offensive area we have very, very many excellent alternatives,” he said, but also assured himself on his own behalf: “There will be no personal sensitivities or any ego games that will disrupt the upswing.”
In terms of his profile, with his way of thinking and playing football, Müller could benefit from the new “project manager”, as he called Flick. As in his time in Munich, he does not see football primarily as an insured event, but with the express encouragement to look for the way forward. Something that Antonio Rüdiger also praised on Tuesday from a different perspective, who took his place on the podium after Müller. The opponent is already way ahead, to press into their half and force them to make mistakes, “is just our thing,” said the central defender of Chelsea.
That should also be according to the taste of the audience. 25,000 will be registered in Hamburg, and the fact that the German Football Association was able to report almost 21,000 tickets sold on Tuesday was at least not bad news in times when football has to fight for its fans. The most recent criticism that the national team has so far shown its distanced side in Hamburg, took Müller as an occasion for a differentiated excursus on the subject of “closeness to the fans”, at the end of which was the message that “the joy of the game is that what connects us ”.
As far as that is concerned, not only the fans have some catching up to do, but also Müller himself. But he was not elicited whether that would even lead to a perspective towards the home European Championship in 2024. He was someone who “focused on the next one or two weeks”, he said, “when it comes up”. Which made him appear a bit puzzled on Tuesday when he was asked for his opinion on the four Nations League games following the end of the season. “Has that been established for a while, or is it new?” He asked. So far he had assumed a free June. It would be the right thing for a man his age, if you can put it that way.