Football-loving Germany is already looking forward to the big game next Saturday in the Bundesliga. Then, league leader Bayer Leverkusen and reigning champions Bayern Munich will face each other. One of the talking points in the run-up to the clash is whether Thomas Müller should be in the starting lineup.Embed from Getty Images
Thomas Müller's landmark achievement of 500 wins with Bayern Munich last Saturday marks not just a personal triumph but also a testament to his enduring impact at the club.
At 34, Müller's experience and skill were on full display as he assisted Aleksandar Pavlovic's equalizer in the 3-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. This performance was especially significant given his recent relegation to a substitute role. The absence of key players like Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry opened the door for Müller to return to the starting lineup under coach Thomas Tuchel, a move that paid dividends.
Müller's aspirations extend beyond this milestone. Looking ahead to the upcoming match against Bayer Leverkusen, he humorously asserted his desire to be in the starting lineup, reflecting both his competitive spirit and his awareness of the team's dynamics. Müller's light-hearted response to questions about his role reveals his seasoned approach to the game and the media, focusing on outmaneuvering opponents on the field rather than getting drawn into off-field speculation.
The anticipation for the Leverkusen clash is palpable among Bayern's passionate supporters. Müller acknowledged this, noting that it's rare for Bayern fans to vocalize their thoughts on Leverkusen, a club not traditionally seen as a fierce rival. However, the upcoming match has stirred excitement, indicating a growing sense of competition between the two teams. Müller emphasized the importance of internal recognition of this fan sentiment and expressed confidence in Bayern's current form and prospects for victory.
Club legend Lothar Matthäus echoed the sentiment of Müller's importance, suggesting that coach Tuchel would do well to include him in the lineup against Leverkusen. Matthäus pointed to Müller's recent performance and the team's current personnel shortages as reasons for his inclusion. He also highlighted Leverkusen's vulnerability to early pressure, a situation where Müller's leadership and enthusiasm could be particularly effective.
On the other side, Nathan Tella of Bayer Leverkusen is garnering attention. Having transferred from Southampton, Tella grabbed his opportunity with a two-goal performance against Darmstadt 98, stepping in for Jeremie Frimpong, who was rested for an upcoming cup match. Coach Xabi Alonso praised Tella for his excellent play and adaptability, noting his positive attitude and knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Tella's humility following his notable Bundesliga start reflects his journey. The 24-year-old Nigerian international, more accustomed to Europa League play and substitute roles in the league, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute significantly to his club. His performance bodes well for Leverkusen, although Frimpong is expected to return to the lineup for the Bayern match.
This buildup frames the upcoming Bayern-Leverkusen match as not just a clash of teams but a showcase of individual stories and strategies, with veteran savvy and emerging talent both playing crucial roles.