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Müller and Badstuber’s meteoric rise

Just ten months after signing pro forms, Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber are firmly established in the Bayern team. Both contributed significantly to the 5-2 victory over Hertha Berlin at the weekend, Badstuber laying on the opening goal and Müller netting the fourth. Both were substituted towards the end and left the field to huge applause. “Müller and Badstuber definitely need the winter break,” Louis van Gaal remarked.

The two 20-year-olds, both products of the Bayern youth system, have featured in almost every game this term. Müller has made 25 appearances, missing only the home Champions League meeting with Bordeaux due to suspension. Badstuber has played 24 times, only failing to appear in the first two rounds of the cup against Neckarelz and Oberhausen.

Van Gaal’s policy

“I hadn’t expected it to go from nought to 100 like that,” said Müller after his stellar ascent from the third division to the Bundesliga in one fell swoop. “Obviously, I wasn’t totally without hope before the season, as I thought I might work my way up the hierarchy step by step,” the player revealed. “But anyone who thought it would turn out like this would have been accused of living in a dream world.”

Van Gaal, renowned for bringing on youthful talent, was quick to encourage Müller and Badstuber at the beginning of the campaign. “Without him, Badstuber and Müller would never have made it so far, so fast,” opined Christian Nerlinger. “He arrived at just the right time for someone like me,” agreed Badstuber, who started out at centre-half before switching to left-back in November.

Satisfied Badstuber

The 20-year-old, whose 195 long balls forward before Saturday is the highest score in the league, also takes free-kicks and corners. Badstuber has laid on three goals with his favoured left foot, and fired the match-winning strike against Monchengladbach. “Obviously I wasn’t expecting it to go like it has. But I’ve shown I’m capable of great consistency,” he reflected, “I can definitely be satisfied.”