The last couple of weeks has seen significant debate around the role of Thomas Muller at Bayern Munich. The German forward started on the bench against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. He was also sacrificed for a defensive substitute against Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend when Dayot Upamecano was dismissed in the eighth minute.
Muller will be starting against Union Berlin, but his position in the starting lineup remains a doubt when Julian Nagelsmann uses a 3-4-3 system. He has largely played as a number ten for Die Roten in the 4-2-3-1 system during the last four seasons.
The German forward is also having a quiet season by his standards. He has five goals and four assists to his name across all competitions. It is a significantly low output for a player of his caliber. Muller has consistently contributed with at least 20 goals and assists in the last few seasons.
Muller will look to bounce back from setbacks in the last couple of games when he starts against Union Berlin. Former Bayern defender Holger Badstuber has backed Muller to get back to his best for Bayern. While talking to AZ, Badstuber insisted that his former teammate has several years left at the top level.
"“Thomas Muller is still an immensely important factor – through his communication, through the way he leads his team-mates on the pitch.”“I know that Thomas still gives everything for football. And I believe he can still do it for a few more years.”"
The emergence of Jamal Musiala and incredible depth in the squad has also contributed to Muller moving away from becoming the focus of the attack. Musiala has excelled in the number ten role for Die Roten this season. The youngster is expected to be the long-term successor of Muller at Bayern and Germany.
Meanwhile, other forwards like Kingsley Coman, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Leroy Sane have been in better form this season. Muller is facing strong competition from these players, while the likes of Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane are also in the squad.
Nagelsmann still rates Thomas Muller very highly due to his experience and tactical intelligence on the pitch. Despite having an average season by his standards, the German forward can have a big impact in the final two months of the season. His experience will be very handy in the cup competitions and the Bundesliga title race.
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Thomas Muller has a knack for coming up with good performances in big games. Nagelsmann and the Bavarian faithful will hope to see him at his best against Union Berlin later today. Bayern needs a win against Union Berlin to regain the top spot in the Bundesliga table.