Thomas Müller clocks up 400 appearances
As he waited on the touchline for his first senior appearance on a cool summer’s evening in August 2008, no one could have guessed that an international career was about to start. He was just 18 years old, a homegrown player who was brought on to make an impact in the dying stages of the Bundesliga opener against Hamburger SV. Today, nine years and 23 days later, Thomas Müller made his 400th competitive appearance for FC Bayern in the match away to 1899 Hoffenheim.
Bundesliga winner, DFB Cup winner, Champions League winner, World Cup winner, World Cup Golden Boot winner, FC Bayern icon. “No one could've predicted the career he’s had,” said Hermann Gerland, who tutored and promoted Müller over many years. “But he had the right club and the right coach at the right time. And then he took his chance and put in very good performances,” he told fcbayern.com.
A special voicemail message
Müller found out about his first call-up for the senior squad via voicemail. The boy from Upper Bavaria was celebrating his Abitur exams when the phone rang. “I didn’t pick up at first. But later when I listened to my voicemail, it was from Jürgen Klinsmann,” revealed Müller, recalling his promotion from the reserve team which Gerland, the coach of the reserves at the time, had suggested to the then Bayern head coach.
What was it that excited Gerland, who is now in charge of the sporting side of Bayern’s new academy? “Thomas scored goals, in training and in games. He wasn’t yet ready to play consistently well over 90 minutes, but he provided goals! And that’s the most important thing in football,” recalls the Tiger, looking back on the start of a career of a player who has always been a bit of a rascal. “He was a very strong runner and could easily keep up with anyone. He had to do that with me when we lost the ball. Sometimes he tried to slip away but of course I spotted it,” laughs Gerland.