Müller: I had to justify the number 13

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The name Müller is once again on the lips of the German footballing family. Miro Klose has set off in pursuit of the World Cup scoring record held by Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ – and a new Müller is scoring goals too. “The way Thomas took his goal was sensational, he stayed cool and showed his class,” enthused Germany skipper Philipp Lahm after Thomas Müller’s impressive debut on the global stage.

The Bayern youngster, tricky midfielder Mesut Özil, veteran Klose and the tireless Lukas Podolski were the stand-out players for the Germans in their 4-0 demolition job on hapless Australia.

Klose’s feet on the ground

The 32-year-old Klose reacted with typical modesty to the confirmation of his reputation as one of the great strikers to feature at the World Cup, but the 20-year-old Müller was clearly still buzzing as he reflected on his third senior appearance for his country. “I knew I had to focus on taking my chance, and I’ve done just that,” said Klose after advancing his total at the finals to eleven. He was top scorer at the tournament in 2006 and has now overtaken Jürgen Klinsmann in Germany’s all-time scoring chart, with only 14-goal Gerd Müller ahead of him now.

Thomas Müller was full of excited good humour: “I was just trying to boost sales of Müller replica shirts,” he quipped. Namesake Gerd, easily the Germans’ all-time leading scorer with 68 goals in 62 internationals, is also on the young FCB man’s mind. “I somehow had to justify my squad number,” Thomas declared. He wears a 13 on his back, the same as the legendary Gerd at the finals in Germany back in 1974.

Similarities with ‘74

“It looked a little like Gerd Müller’s winning goal against Holland in the final,” the new Müller grinned after watching replays of his right-footed shot across the keeper. The number 13 certainly does not appear unlucky for him, as his maiden international goal came on 13 June.

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