Bayern Munich forward and club legend Thomas Müller celebrates his 33rd birthday on Tuesday, but rather than festivities at home, he’ll be doing what he does best, turning out for Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena as they entertain Catalan giants Barcelona in the Champions League.
Whether it will be a ‘happy’ birthday for Müller depends largely on how he and his Bayern team mates deal with the return of talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski. The two developed an almost telepathic relationship over the years they played together with Müller racking up the assists and the Polish striker breaking the club’s scoring records.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the Group C clash the Bayern forward explained the plan to stop his ex-colleague. “We have to play our game and not let Lewy get into the game. A top striker is always dangerous when he gets the ball in or near the penalty area. We want to assert ourselves in the duels and we want to be tenacious after losing the ball ourselves. The game will be open-ended. In the Bundesliga we recently played against opponents who defended well. I think tomorrow it will be a game that neutral spectators will like.”
The two sides met in the group stage of the Champions League last season with Bayern winning both matches 3-0. Prior to that was the famous 8-2 mauling the Bavarians handed out in Portugal on the way to winning the trophy in 2020. This is quite a different Barcelona beast Bayern face- aside from just Lewandowski.
“When top European teams meet, everyone is highly motivated” Müller explains. “Of course, we are aware that Barcelona has had a great start to the season, and it’s fun to watch. They’ve already scored a lot of goals. I like them. But that makes the task even more appealing. We will push the limits to win the game. With six points we would take a big step towards the next round.”
Happy birthday for tomorrow. Bayern fans will be hoping Müller can celebrate properly and not have his party spoilt by a certain Polish striker.