German Royalty: Thomas Muller

Current Bayern Munich and Germany jack-of-all-trades player, Thomas Muller, has established himself in the upper echelon of Germany’s best. So naturally, the midfielder clawed his way through the Bayern Munich youth system and remains a stalwart in the starting XI to this day.

The versatile player has proven to be one of Germany’s most useful players in the last eight years or so, being able to be deployed almost anywhere in the offensive midfield ends, and even as a forward or second striker. The German came from humble beginnings. As such, he fought via extreme hard work.
In these eight years, he’s been praised for his priceless attributes. His positioning, stamina and determined work rate have been top tier. But his biggest accomplishments come along his earning of the nickname, raumdeuter. His ability to weave his way expertly in the opposition’s penalty area is world class.
These skills gave way to a meteoric rise in Germany’s pantheon of legends of the game. Having been a product of the Bayern Munich youth academy, his ascendance to footballing fame starts with his breakthrough under manager Louis van Gaal. The Dutch coach has arguably been Muller’s most influential manager over the course of his illustrious career.
This success at Bayern Munich would prove invaluable. His attributes developed at club level, as such it would translate onto the international stage. His first call-up for Germany came in 2010. While Germany finished third in the World Cup, his stellar performance earned him the Golden Boot. This would be the start of his ascension to German royalty.
It would prove to be the beginning of his journey success and would subsequently lead to Germany’s glorious 2014 World Cup. Thomas Muller reaped what he sowed, proving to be one of the titular German stars that asserted Germany’s dominance in football’s most illustrious stage.

Humble Roots

Thomas Muller was born in Weilheim in Oberbayern, western Germany. Before he became the star-studded and decorated footballing champion, he began his journey to the German footballing dynasty plying his trade as a youth player for his local club, TSV Pahl. His next crucial step came at the age of 10, when he made 50-kilometer move to begin establishing himself at Bayern Munich in the year 2000.
Progressing through the youth system, he became part of the youth team finishing runner-up in the U19 Bundesliga in 2007. Muller then made his debut for the reserve squad in March of 2008 as a substitute coming on for Stephan Fuerstner in the Regionalliga game up against SpVgg Unterhaching. But he wasn’t a mere last-minute substitute. His inclusion had a near-immediate impact as he managed to score a goal.
Continuing with the U19 squad, he made two more appearances in the Regionalliga during the 2007-2008 season. Muller’s development of his many versatile talents chugged along as he became an integral part of Bayern Munich’s second string in the 3. Liga as he played 32 of 38 matches. In that season, he managed to have a resounding success as he scored 15 times. As such, he established himself as the fifth highest scorer.
His early foreshadowing of first-team glory came when he featured in the senior side in pre-season friendlies under former manager Jurgen Klinsmann. His first competitive debut for the Bayern Munich first team arrived on August 15, 2008 when he served as a substitute for Miroslav Klose in a Bundesliga match against Hamburger SV. This went on to earn him three more Bundesliga showings for that season.
Thomas Mueller would then make his UEFA Champions League debut on March 10, 2009 as a substitute for fellow German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, scoring in a 12-1 aggregate thrashing of Portuguese club Sporting CP.

First-Team Breakthrough

Thomas Muller was then promptly rewarded for his first-team exploits with the signing of his first contract with the Bayern Munich senior side. The two-year deal would begin in the 2009-2010 season. Another teammate Muller rose through the ranks with would receive the same treatment: Holger Badstuber.
The up-and-coming Bayern Munich poster boy would have a lot to live up to. Surely, this was due to the fact he shared surnames with his namesake, the great German footballing titan, Gerd Muller. The young Thomas Muller was, in fact, being prepped for a loan to find consistent first-team football. However, this was before the then-manager Louis van Gaal spotted his talent. The Dutchman would become the man to thank for his continual success.
Van Gaal saw true potential in the youngster. After all, Louis van Gaal was known for his strong inclination towards developing youth talents. Both Muller and Badstuber featured prominently from the start of the season. During the first few matches of the season, Muller was a regular substitute. On September 12, 2009, he was brought on to immediate effect as a scored a brace against Dortmund in a resounding 5-1 victory.
His talents began to quickly shine through. Just three days after the match against Dortmund, he scored yet another brace in a 3-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League against Maccabi Haifa. As a result, he ended September being awarded Bundesliga Player of the Month.
After the game against Haifa, he featured in the starting XI for nearly every match. The Bayern Munich heads saw the raw and refining talent in Thomas Muller and gave him a new contract through to 2013. Muller’s featuring as a starter continued, as he began being mainly deployed as a central striker.
In the penultimate match of the season, he scored his very first hat trick in a 3-1 victory over VfL Bochum, which essentially handed the Bundesliga title over to Bayern Munich. The title was officially guaranteed the following week as Bayern defeated Hertha BSC 3-1. By the end of the season, Muller had recorded 13 goals and 11 assists.
2010 would prove to be a massive stepping stone for Thomas Muller and his development as a unique footballing talent at international level with Germany. While Germany finished third at the World Cup finals, the tournament proved to be a strong individual success for the up-and-coming German talisman. His goalscoring exploits saw him record five goals and three assists. This resounding success earned him the Golden Boot award.

The Fruits of Labour

Thomas Muller and his early roots and first-team breakthrough both at the club level with Bayern Munich and eye-catching performances on the world stage would serve as a metaphorical drumroll for his biggest successes. By now, along with other Germany/Bayern greats Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, he had proven himself to be a vital cog in the German footballing machine.
At club level with Bayern Munich, the 2012-2013 season would prove to be one of his (and the club’s) most decorated. By the halfway mark of the season, Muller had notched up nine goals and seven assists in 16 Bundesliga appearances, along with three more goals in the UEFA Champions League, giving him 12 goals at the winter break.
Thomas Muller and Bayern Munich would also prove to ravage the UEFA Champions League competition. He added a fifth Champions League goal in the 2-0 first leg victory over Juventus in the quarter-finals. His next emphatic and hallmark performance came in the famous 7-0 aggregate destruction of Spanish footballing giants, FC Barcelona.
At the Allianz Arena, he notched two goals and an assist against the Spaniards and scored a headed goal in the return fixture at the Camp Nou. For the opposition, this served as an ominous warning to their rivals-to-be in the final, Borussia Dortmund. The famous all-German final proved to be a tense one.
Thomas Muller would start and be an important figure in the Bavarian side’s euphoric 2-1 win, thanks to a last gasp winner by Arjen Robben. On June 11, 2013, Muller scored a penalty in Bayern’s 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Pokal. Thus, Bayern and Germany’s first ever continental treble was secured, and glory was brought home to Munich.
However, his cementing of his place in German footballing fame, and a spot among the stars would come one summer later. Muller scored a hat trick in Germany’s dominant 4-0 thumping of Portugal in the German’s inaugural match. On June 26, he would score the only goal in a tense 1-0 win over the United States, helping the Germans top Group G. He would also score the opening goal in the football history-defining match in the 7-1 destruction of hosts, Brazil.
He would then be among the starters for Germany’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over Argentina, winning the nation’s fourth World Cup. Individually, he finished the tournament as the second-highest goalscorer, earning him the Silver Boot, just behind future Bayern teammate James Rodriguez. Being crowned as world champion, Muller would truly be worthy to be named along Gerd Muller as German footballing royalty.

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