Driver and leader
Sat, 20/03/21, 22:01
Radio Müller on full volume vs. Stuttgart
When Thomas Müller was substituted in the 83rd minute of FC Bayern's 4-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, there was great applause from the bench. Despite being outnumbered for almost 80 minutes, the Munich side had outplayed opponents Stuttgart - and the 31-year-old Müller was one of the players to thank for Bayern being able to do so. "Thomas almost single-handedly made up for the fact that Bayern were a man down," Stuttgart's Sporting Director Sven Mislintat acknowledged after the game.
Even before kick-off, Müller was up for the fight and could be heard during the warm-up. If there is anything good about the current situation of empty stadia, it is that Radio Müller, as Hermann Gerland always calls him, can be received without a hitch by the few journalists present at the ground. So it was to be Bayern's number 25 who quickly spurred his team on again after Alphonso Davies' early dismissal (12th minute), showing what a leader he is.
"Now we've got a challenge. Be strong now," Müller said, motivating his teammates immediately after referee Daniel Schlager produced the red card. Bayern did not need long to digest the setback. "Now we've got the game back. Let's keep going," shouted the 2014 World Cup winner in the 17th minute as the home side set up for a corner. Just moments later, Lewandowski opened the scoring.
No problems with new position
Müller also adapted perfectly to the new situation after the sending-off. After the incident, he had to play as a number 6, as David Alaba moved back into the back four. "Sometimes he pushed us forward too often, especially when we had good shape. Every now and then he was pulled out of shape a bit too early," Hansi Flick noted, but was still very satisfied with his man. "That's what sets him apart. He put our opponents under pressure and forced them to make mistakes again and again," the head coach said aprovingly.
Flick effusive about team performance
Driven by Müller, Bayern produced a very strong team performance, which also delighted the coach: "It was an outstanding performance from everyone today. To play like that against eleven men and a footballing team like VfB and to defend well, that was really good." The record champions did not let the sending-off rattle them. On the contrary, it acted as an added incentive.
"It was a challenge for us and we showed that you can also play good football with a man down," emphasised hat-trick hero Robert Lewandowski, who once again benefited from a perfect cross from Müller for his second goal. Müller now has 14 assists, the best in the league. In addition, Müller's fantastic through ball to Leroy Sané allowed Sané to play in Gnabry for an easy finish to double Bayern's advantage.
Müller continues to coach despite substitution
With movements like this, Müller and Sané, who was substituted at the same time, earned the plaudits of their teammates. And anyone who thought that Radio Müller had gone off air when he left the pitch was proved wrong. The leader continued to coach his team loudly from the sidelines.
Robert Lewandowski is unstoppable at the moment: