500 Competitive Appearances: Thomas Müller on his best Moments for FC Bayern!


Obviously, a lot has happened in the last ten, eleven, twelve years. You start in the youth team and then you try to somehow work your way up. But to then turn pro at FC Bayern, break into the team and then to have to constantly keep performing to a level, and now to look back on so many games for FC Bayern, for my club that I have supported my whole life, even as a little nipper, to go and play 500 games for them. In hindsight, it is like a utopian dream. And now I have achieved that and am still going. ’m not quite at the stage where people start talking about my last game, I’m – in inverted commas – “only 30”. But yes, that’s a crazy number. I’m so grateful to have been able to live all this. When you’ve played for such an extraordinary club for so long, the best club in Germany, a club which has established itself as one of the best in Europe in recent years as well, then you inevitably end up not only playing with outstanding footballers, but also some incredible people. You also play with a lot of international players, which obviously gives you an insight into different cultures and traditions. That has definitely helped me come out of my, shall we say, comfort zone, and move away from the things you know from home, whilst also upholding those things to a certain extent. I’ve always been here in Munich, but I’ve obviously had a lot of experiences that you can’t take for granted. Naturally I usually prefer the classic red and white jerseys, but I’ve been partial to the odd splotch of dark blue as well. The home jersey is always the nicest for me, the most important one, and I’ve always felt that way. Obviously certain kits go with certain memories and experiences. And there have been some crazy ones. My first senior appearance was in summer 2008. The kit itself reminds me a bit of my number with the amateurs, where I wore the number 21. This was my first proper year in professional football. I didn’t play the whole season with the first team; I spent the majority of the season in the third division with the second team, under Hermann Gerland’s management. We had an excellent season! The third division was like an adventure for us youngsters, playing against grownups, against established players and we really held our own. It went really well for me on a personal level as well, so I definitely associate this kit with good memories. The kit I scored my first Bundesliga goal in – my so-called breakthrough season, may have had a little white collar on the jersey like something you wear at Sunday school, but it was very effective. I had amazing experiences in that kit, such as my first Bundesliga goal, immediately followed by a second against Dortmund. Back then it wasn’t clear that Dortmund would be our main competition for the next ten years to come, but yes, it was a crazy season for me. Found my feet in my first full season as a professional, played some great games, we reached the Champions League final, so this jersey certainly gave us something. It’s nice to see the old pictures. My first Champions League final, Bayern’s first Champions League final since winning the competition in 2001. It was a crazy season, the final was, all things considered, a massive disappointment back then as well. But we had gone into the game so positively, after developing so much throughout the season the Champions League final was the peak. It was obviously a monumental experience for a young player like myself. It was really gutting to lose it, but of course, it goes down as a highlight of my first season. Only in hindsight do you really appreciate how special it is to reach the Champions League final. Yeah, after the 2010 Champions League final experience we got back down to business in August. When it came to season openers I always had a particular eye for goal, often opened the season myself, so to speak. Here for example, my old pal Toni Kroos, who I’d played with since the U19s, setting me up beautifully for a lovely goal. Despite 2010/11 not being our most successful season, we bounced back from it even stronger. When I’m asked about it, I describe it as the most incredible moment of my career, from a sporting perspective of course. I’ve not experienced a bigger explosion of emotions etc. since then. In this video you can see above all what’s going on behind the goal. The whole city of Munich was waiting: “When are they finally going to score that goal?” It really was a moment of salvation. Even though we, as we all know, didn’t win the game in the end, his moment was, yeah, I don’t know, it might have been a medical emergency how much adrenaline was released in that one moment. So it is definitely a special moment, even though it was followed by one of the most devastating defeats of my career. Given the story that followed the year after, it is easier to look back on now, but it was a bitter pill to swallow. Yeah so the kit might give it away a bit with the gold lining, and it has to be said, after that defeat – obviously this is easy to say in hindsight – but after losing the final in 2012, we left the training camp n July and Jupp Heynckes swore us in for the new season. From then, it felt like we spent the whole season marching forward, not even doubting once that we were on our way to greatness. Then I would probably say the truly magical aspect of that Champions League triumph was the semi final. Barcelona, the world class team, with world class players like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta… At the time Barca were the big team in Europe, as were we, obviously, but still we were the slight underdogs and then we went and battered them 4-0 in the Allianz Arena. I scored two of the goals myself, which were obviously unbelievable moments for me. It was during this game that we felt like not just the team that can beat anyone, but the team that wanted to win the title, which is exactly what we did after that exciting final at Wembley stadium. The semi-final against Barcelona was almost more spectacular than the final itself, but it was an incredible story altogether. It’s not got quite the same dramatic element… When I watch this clip, it makes me laugh on the one hand, and on the other hand I can still feel it in my bones to this day how I felt during extra time in that cup final against Dortmund. This was a really important final for us, there was a lot riding on this game. And yes, I was very tired during that attack, I think the opposing player – Marcel Schmelzer, was just as tired. Yeah, you can’t exactly call that a sprint in the opponents’ half – we were battling and fighting, I think I had cramp in every muscle in both legs. Thankfully I was able to find a clever solution and got in front of him. That goal put the game to bed then and I think you can see how big a relief it was. That is definitely a moment you can watch over and over again when things aren’t going so well. That brings us to the 2015/16 season, Champions League games against Arsenal around then were, shall we say, very frequent. We were often drawn against Arsenal, a team that definitely had a lot of potential, but never really caused us any problems – we always got the result we wanted against them. I scored twice in this game as well – it was an important win. Unfortunately we were knocked out in the semi-final three years in a row – that was really disappointing, but it’s not the jersey’s fault. In 2015/16 we had two crazy games against Juventus. We dominated the first half in Turin, barely allowed them out of their penalty area, but still only drew 2-2 after they caused us some problems in the second half. The exact opposite happened in the second leg – we went behind straight away and were as good as out, 2-1 down with not much longer left on the clock. Obviously we threw everything forward, then Kingsley, who was already our player by then and has been with us for a few years now, put in a superb cross. Franck opened up the space for me to head it in at the back post with practically the last passage of the game before full time. This felt a tad like my goal in 2012. The DFB-Pokal finals against Dortmund – they were often very tight and obviously extremely important. As I said before, during the Pep Guardiola era we weren’t in the Champions League finals, we always got knocked out in the semis. This meant there was often a lot of pressure on us ahead of the DFB-Pokal finals to end the season on a positive note. This pressure was even bigger against Dortmund, our biggest rivals in Germany, we were obviously desperate to win. Here we narrowly won on penalties after what was a heated encounter. Philipp Lahm’s last kit. This particular kit might not be so special to me, but Philipp was always a special player to me, not just as captain, but also as a teammate, both at FC Bayern and with the national team. His intelligence meant he could always feed me with clever passes. That attacking right hand side, it wasn’t so magical really, but we often said it was internally, the triangle of me, Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm. Philipp is a great person who I still meet up with and who was definitely a massive player for the club. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re nearing the present. Last season was really special as well. We started our comeback quest in January and managed to win our seventh consecutive Championship after an exciting final day. In Rafinha, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry, the club bid farewell to three key figures of the last decade, of my time at FC Bayern as well. That was a moving way to end the campaign, but the most important thing was that we got our hands on that Meisterschale again. The kit was also really nice, in terms of design, nothing comes close. The jerseys are all superb. Red and white, you can’t go wrong. As for the current jersey, the designers really pulled out the stops. You may have noticed already that you can see the Allianz Arena, our home ground, has been integrated into the visual. And you have to take your hats off for that! Because if you imagine having to think of a new design every season and keep hundreds of thousands of FC Bayern fans happy, that’s a monumental task. You’ve done well! FC Bayern obviously always have the biggest ambitions in terms of titles. Given the current situation in the Champions League and the Bundesliga, we are certainly on track to being able to achieve our aims. We might just have to get through this rough patch, but I still think we can achieve a lot this season. A famous Dutch coach once said: “The trophies are awarded in May.” o we’ve got an exciting season still ahead of us.

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