Zu Thomas Müller no longer belongs to the young and wild ones anyway. They usually approach the training ground in Herzogenaurach in groups and swarms, which then looks like a bike trip to the sport or swimming pool, because the national players cover the few hundred meters from their living area on the blue bikes of the outfitter.
Sometimes you can also see one or the other somewhat older savage, Mats Hummels, for example, often jokes and transports a basketball in one of the bicycle baskets, or Leon Goretzka, who likes to roll up while listening to music. The most eye-catching accessory from Thomas Müller, on the other hand, is a gray bicycle helmet. Together with the upright sitting position on the noticeably unsporting models, this makes him appear like a friendly gentleman in a somewhat more comfortable age. On Monday he happily whistled a melody.
At the weekend, the same Müller, who plays it safe on the bike, gave a short speech in which he sounded like the security officer or defense minister of the national soccer team. In fact, Müller, the 2010 World Cup shooter king and tenth of the all-time German striker rankings, with 39 goals in total, spoke long and broadly at the press conference in Herzogenaurach about an art that is actually not his: defending. If you followed Müller, that’s the way the English should be beaten this Tuesday in the European Championship round of 16 at London’s Wembley Stadium (6 p.m., in the FAZ live ticker for the European Football Championship, in the ARD and MagentaTV live). It doesn’t do anything to play “the hell out of it”, rather it could be that there are “only two or three chances” in the 90 minutes, said Müller. and if you just win a game, then that is “not a shame either”. The prerequisite for this, however, would be that Germany hold tight behind. That would be “rather the deciding factor” than creating a lot of chances, said Müller. Only: five goals conceded and four backlogs in the three previous games are rather an unfavorable result.
So the defense minister spoke: he had noticed something about the goals conceded so far, said Müller. That the Germans were not outnumbered, “there were enough players behind the ball”. What was to be understood in such a way that either the assignment was wrong or was not tackled with enough determination. That should change against England. It is important not to feel safe in the back because of the majority, but rather to “keep the pressure on the ball high” in order to block the switching moments of the fast offensive, it is about the “spirit”, the “will”, as in approaches against France To lead duels, to be disgusting, to pursue again and again, to “keep in line, one person leads the duel, and if he loses it, the next one comes”. Conquering England by standing in line, practically beating them with your own arms, that would be something for a Monty Python sketch. But there was nothing to suggest that Müller meant it in any way funny.
It is actually a misunderstanding that Müller would always come around the corner with a brisk phrase. That has not been the case at FC Bayern for a long time, and in the national team you will also see and hear a man in these weeks who is extremely serious. Who simply deals very intensively with football, who gives detailed and substantial presentations where others say nothing with half a sentence. One can speculate about whether Müller is doing this consciously, which would be understandable: Even “Tatort” commissioners notice at some point that it is not nice to always be identified with the same role, even if you are 31 years old and play a hundred international matches If the national team returns, then you might not want to do that as a nonsense critic of the nation. It could just as well be that Müller doesn’t even think about anything like that and just wants to use the opportunity that flown to him with this EM with the highest concentration and ultimate consistency.