Thomas Muller might not be the biggest star for Germany or for his club Bayern Munich but he is becoming something akin to irreplaceable for both of them.

In all great sides there is the one man who silently does his work while the stars around him garner most of the plaudits. The Chicago Bulls had Scottie Pippen playing this kind of a role while all the attention fell on His Airness, Michael Jordan. In bicycle racing there was George Hincapie who was the lieutenant in all of Lance Armstrongai??i??s now infamous seven Tour De France victories. It is said that Hincapie could have won a few titles himself if he were the lead man but he was content playing the role of a domestique. In cricket too there was Rahul Dravid who went about his business quietly and was never one for the limelight.

Thomas Muller too is of the same ilk as he has never quite been the biggest star in Bavaria let alone Germany but has now become a mainstay for both club & country. It is not his fault that he does not look like a modern day forward who is either a petite individual with a low centre of gravity or someone who is more powerfully built along the lines of a middle weight boxer. Muller is a throwback to the earlier times when football was just football and when players used to entertain large crowds on weekends and go back to their normal day jobs during the week. With his socks closer to his ankles rather the knees which is the wont these days he just goes about his business of scoring goals and linking up play.

Even though players such as Arjen Robben, Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski and the like garner more of the attention it is perhaps this lanky Bavarian who is one of the first names on the teamsheet for both Pep Guardiola & Joachim Loew and it is not hard to fathom why.

Despite being only 25 years old Muller has more World Cup goals than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney & Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined and while this does not suggest that he is a better player but that he is the perfect German forward ai??i?? one who rises to the occasion. For club Bayern Munich he probably has an even more impressive statistic. In the 51 games that he has scored in for the Bavarian giants, Munich have won 48 and drawn three. It is hard to think of any other modern soccer player with such unique numbers.

Thomas Muller has become a key player for Joachim Loew’s German side

When assessing the Weilheim in Oberbayern born playerai??i??s style one wonders how he managed to break through into a super talented Bayern Munich side. But perhaps Muller himself has the answer to this perplexing question. He recently said that he knows he cannot take on a 1.9 metre, 90 kilogram defender in a duel and has to find the perfect space and time to strike. He also knows that he does not possess the technical ability to dribble past half a dozen players but instead has to rely on a God gifted sixth sense of knowing when and where to turn up so as to maximize his chances of scoring.

In his current role for club and country he either plays as a false number 9 or on the right of a front three. In these roles he has defined for himself a new kind of a term ai??i?? Raumdeuter which is German for space investigator. While this may appear very difficult to understand for a regular football goer it is perhaps one of the most sought after skills in a modern player.

In present day football with its emphasis on triangular play & zonal marking, space is perhaps the most important commodity and this lanky German is one of its most efficient exponents. His use of this space is an indicator to the fact that he is almost never involved in any offside call nor is the subject of strong tackling.

While being a space investigator is a very modern term, Muller also has in his quiver the art of stabbing the ball home from any body part which the rules of the game allow. His first goal in Bayern Munichai??i??s recent win over Eintracht Frankfurt demonstrates just that. After seeing his initial shot saved by goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald he ultimately bundled the ball home using a mixture of his knee and thigh from all of 2 yards.

But while these abilities do not make him the most watchable of players they definitely make him one of the most feared. And for a player who counts Germany & Bayern Munich as two of his teams this might just be enough.

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