Now you see him, now you don’t.
Thomas Muller is the man credited for inventing the Raumdeuter– ‘space investigator’- role.
While his stock has plummeted in recent seasons, the German gave us a timely dose of nostalgia against Chelsea with a performance that proved he’s still got a few steins left in him yet.
Ten years ago, it was a fresh-faced Muller who torn England apart in Bloemfontein. Fifty Matthew Upsons couldn’t have stopped him that day.
Fast forward to 2020, on a chilly Champions League night at Stamford Bridge, the German was the red thorn in the Blues’ side as Bayern ran riot against Chelsea’s youngsters.
Frank Lampard deployed four central midfielders and three centre-backs, yet not one could get close to Muller.
Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley were chasing Bavarian shadows all game, while Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will be hearing “morning” in their heads for the foreseeable future.
While not registering a goal or an assist in the game, Muller’s expert movement freed up bucket-loads of space for Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski to run riot.
The extent of Muller’s arrogant genius truly knew no boundaries.
He even tried to force Willy Caballero into early retirement when he crashed a backwards header against the bar in the first half, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Javier Hernandez against Stoke, circa 2010.
CLAIM YOUR FREE £30 BET NOW - AD
- Get a free £30 bet with Betway
- Split the bet however you like
- CLAIM YOUR FREE BET NOW
Muller’s decline since Pep Guardiola left Bavaria in 2016 is unquestionable, with Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac just two of the marquee managers who had been unable to get him firing again.
Both domestically and with the national team, Muller was slowly being squeezed out before our very eyes and it was heartbreaking to watch.
However, under the temporary stewardship of Hans Flick, the 30-year-old looks back to his best, with seven goals and 11 assists in 18 games since Kovac’s sacking.
Bayern might just have dusted off their most-important weapon to ward off RB Leipzig from now until the end of the season.
Muller can find space anywhere, apart from the Stamford Bridge tunnel…