Thomas Müller says Bayern Munich have the edge in the title race, but has warned against complacency in the run-in. - © imago images / GEPA pictures
Thomas Müller says Bayern Munich have the edge in the title race, but has warned against complacency in the run-in. - © imago images / GEPA pictures

Bayern Munich's Thomas Müller: "The title's in our hands, but we still have work to do"


Thomas Müller says Bayern Munich's experience was key to their 5-0 demolition of Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, and believes the title is now theirs to lose with six games to go.

Ten members of the Bayern starting line-up had already won at least one Bundesliga title, compared to one player in the Dortmund side (33-year-old Lukasz Piszczek), and it showed as the defending champions coasted over the finish line to move one point clear of their nearest pursuers in the race for honours.

"We put a young Dortmund side under serious pressure from the outset," Müller told Germany's leading sports specialist magazine kicker. "And when you're under pressure at the Allianz Arena and go behind so early, it's not easy for young players, especially when we're playing full throttle.

"Psychology plays a massive role, as it does in all walks of life. We needed to win and we wanted to make a statement. Now the title's in our hands."

Abdou Diallo (r.) was one of five Dortmund starters aged 23 or under Müller (l.) and Co. came up against at the Allianz Arena. - getty

That's because Bayern will be crowned champions for the seventh successive season if they win all six of their remaining fixtures, no matter how Dortmund fare. "Simple mathematics" as Müller put it, before warning of the difficulties of taking maximum points from games against Fortuna Düsseldorf (a), Werder Bremen (h), Nuremberg (a), Hannover (h), RB Leipzig (a) and Eintracht Frankfurt (h) during the run-in.

"Six wins from six will do it, but we've got to travel to Fortuna Düsseldorf and Nuremberg - they won't be a walk in the park," Müller said. "They're fighting for points, and Fortuna are on a good run, so we've still got work to do. We haven't played as well as we did against Dortmund for a long time. We've restored the balance of power, but that'll count for nothing if next week doesn't go to plan."

Watch: Thomas Müller reflects on the title race

At his stealthy best against Dortmund, Müller can expect to feature heavily down the final straight. Restored to his preferred central role behind Robert Lewandowski in the absence of James Rodriguez - the Colombian was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench - it was his header that preceded Bayern's third goal through Javi Martinez. He then set up Serge Gnabry for their fourth, and brought the best out of leading man Lewandowski, who moved onto 201 Bundesliga goals with a well-taken brace.

"At the start of the season, we played with one No.6, then we used two," explained Bayern coach Niko Kovac, having plumped for a 4-2-3-1 formation at the weekend. "It worked well at the start of the season, then we dropped points, so it depends on the opposition, but we've come to the point now where we know it works best with Thomas Müller and Thiago in the central areas. They really had a go at Dortmund's holding players."

In the words of Müller: "It's no secret in German football that my strengths are put to best use through the middle."