By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — What once seemed unimaginable is now becoming a real possibility. Thomas Mueller’s future at Bayern Munich has become uncertain despite having a contract that runs until 2021. The star striker no longer seems indispensable and could leave the record German champions.
For many years the unorthodox footballer embodied everything the Alpine region stood for. Some called him the only true Bavarian left in a squad containing players from many different nations. Others regard him as the 2013 treble winner’s last remaining player fans can identify with.
Mueller appeared like a Bavarian sovereign.
Now, media reports are speaking about a possible departure of the striker who was born in Weilheim, a small town to the south-west of Munich. Close to the idyllic Lake Starnberg, his birthplace is in the heart of Bavaria.
The German international’s situation at Bayern has changed. It is no longer the case that, in the words of former club coach Louis van Gaal, “Mueller always plays.”
Nowadays the man that for so long seemed indispensable appears superfluous. He doesn’t seem to fit in the tactical systems used by his club coach Niko Kovac and his national coach Joachim Loew.
Mueller is everything but a magic winger, a center forward or a playmaker. He is everything else: unpredictable, unorthodox, passionate and can depend on his unique instincts.
The qualities that had made him successful. He scored five goals at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups more than most of the big stars. A new term was invented in football as Mueller was called the “Raumdeuter” which stands for a “space interpreter” or “space investigator.”
As speed and specialization is playing an increasingly vital role in modern football, Mueller seems to be lost. But has his career in Munich come to an end?
The Kicker magazine speaks of several interested clubs. In 2016, Manchester United made a 100 million euro bid that included a five-year contract worth 25 million euro annually. Bayern rejected the offer. Mueller had to stay and his earnings were increased.
He admitted to thinking about the offer intensively. “It will be difficult to leave a club like Bayern, but a new challenge doesn’t sound too bad either,” he commented.
Fact is: Over the last two years Mueller hasn’t been able to stop the downward trend. Many see the 2016 European Championships as the turning point. Mueller didn’t manage to score a goal. Since then his luck has deserted him in front of goal.
Things started to get worse under Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti. Mueller lost his place in many of the crucial matches.
Currently, fans see Mueller trying to solve his crisis. On the pitch he seeks to encourage his teammates to pass the ball to him just as he needs it. But he appears tense and ill-at-ease commented Kicker.
Dieter Hoeness, former Bayern striker and brother of club president Uli Hoeness, said “Thomas lacks the easiness of the past years”.
The struggling striker says he is determined to fight for his Bavarian future. After all the Mueller family seems to have found their life-time place on a stud farm in Otterfing near Munich. They built a cozy nest allowing Mueller’s wife Lisa to live a life as a horse breeder and dressage rider.
But the difficult situation of the football playing part of the family keeps their minds busy when gathering in the evening.
After posting an emotional tweet during the league game against SC Freiburg last weekend a quick apology followed. “It takes over 70 minutes until he has a flash of inspiration,” the 26-year-old wife wrote on a social media channel when her husband was about to be sent on as a substitute.
Thomas Mueller admitted it wasn’t a good idea to post a public comment but said with a smile running over his face: “What can I do, she loves me.”