Created on 28-04-2010 at 00:00 AM
A year ago, on 26 April 2009, Thomas Müller played for the Bayern reserves against Erzgebirge Aue in front of a 1,330 crowd at the Grünwald Stadium. Almost exactly a year later, 40,000 at Stade Gerland and millions around the world saw him in Champions League action. “I was playing in the third division a year ago. It's a good league, but this is twelve levels higher,” said the 20-year-old after helping his team reach the Champions League final.
If he plays, the match in Madrid on 22 May will mark the highwater mark of Müller’s remarkable ascent. An instant success after being plucked from the reserves, he has earned a full international cap and could yet be named in the Germany squad for the World Cup. Müller’s feet are still firmly on the ground. “If I was to rub my eyes in disbelief, I’d get an infection,” he deadpanned, “I try not to think about everything that’s happened.”
Müller is by no means the only youth product to make the transition to the first team this term. Holger Badstuber (21), a goalscorer against Aue a year ago, has basically tracked Müller all the way. “Outstanding! The Champions League final in my first season. It’s what you dream of before turning pro,” he said. The defender has appeared in 45 of Bayern’s 49 games this term, with Müller on 48 outings - and 16 goals to boot.