The Bundesliga season came to a conclusion with Bayern Munich running rampant as they closed out the season with 16 wins from their last 18 league games to steer ahead of their rivals and lift a record eighth consecutive Bundesliga title, scoring 100 goals from 34 games.
On current form, The Bavarians are one of the best teams in Europe as several players were in unstoppable form during their winning streak dating back to when Hansi Flick took over. Not least Robert Lewandowski who registered the most prolific season of his career to date with 34 goals from 31 games, Alphonso Davies having his breakthrough campaign to show his blend of blistering pace, technique and stamina at left-back, clocking a Bundesliga record speed of 22.7mph; then there’s Thomas Müller, the irrepressible attacking asset who registered the most assists this season.
The German’s 21 assists surpass the record (20) set by Kevin De Bruyne in 2015 and is the highest in Europe’s top five leagues. It is perhaps a mystery to some, how the active player with the most FIFA World Cup goals has become a creative hub and what exactly his position is.
Müller’s role on the pitch is quite a unique one, he is neither a centre forward, second striker, winger nor a traditional number 10. Perhaps a little bit of all, the 30-year-old is a self-proclaimed ‘Raumdeuter’ (space investigator/interpreter) which sees Müller instinctively drift across the final third to cause damage.
|Müller’s world-class qualities have come to the fore in record-breaking fashion this season. (TF-Images/Getty Images)|
His goal contributions speak for itself; Müller has consistently chipped in with assists in double figures and the one season he failed to do so in his senior career was his highest goal-scoring season with 20 goals in 2016.
Deployed behind Lewandowski in a 4-2-3-1 this season, he is crucially able to bypass the buildup play along the wings, with this elusive opportunist finding and picking gaps where defenders find it hard to mark him out. Tellingly, where Lewandowski occupies the markers, Müller is always available in and around the box to either manufacture a finish in trademark style or pick out a teammate (most likely Lewandowski, who has profited from eight of Müller’s assists).
This approach alone has been responsible for disrupting many of the Bundesliga’s – and Europe’s – tactically-organized defensive setups.
|With the speed of thought and movement that juxtaposes tactical systems, Thomas Müller is an unorthodox footballer. (Reuters)|
It’s his anticipation, off-the-ball movement and confidence in his own world-class abilities that set Müller apart at Bayern, now the Raumdeuter’s unique qualities have opened another chapter in the history books.
Unlike the False Nine, Libero and Regista; the Raumdeuter could well be renamed ‘The Thomas Müller role’ after his playing days.