Thomas Müller has got his hands on nine Bundesliga titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, six DFB Cups and the FIFA World Cup down the years, but it's striving to be the best he can possibly be that makes him tick.
Müller is enjoying his 12th full season as a professional, and marked his 540th competitive appearance at club level with the 196th assist of his career as Bayern edged Hertha Berlin 4-3 prior to the October international break. It was the 31-year-old and his treble-winning teammates' fifth game in the space of two weeks.
"It's pretty clear what challenges we're facing right now," he wrote on his LinkedIn column. "We only had two weeks [of pre-season] to process the magnificent treble win - which is hardly any time at all. We opened with an 8-0 win over Schalke and were immediately in seventh heaven again. We won the [UEFA] Super Cup and German Supercup, but the defeat to Hoffenheim - our first in 10 months - uncovered some frailties.
"After blagging our way into the international break with a narrow 4-3 win against Hertha, now it's about flipping the switch, recharging and moving on from our successes over the past weeks and months. The past has no bearing on your performance levels."
Irrespective of Bayern's energy-sapping schedule, Müller's powers are showing no signs of waning. The self-appointed 'Raumdeuter' made 50 appearances in 2019/20, producing 14 goals and 26 assists on his way to claiming a second career treble of Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup. He was the first player in Bundesliga history to provide 11 assists during the first half of a season, and signed off with a league-record total of 21. Five matches into 2020/21, Mr. Bayern has already had a direct hand in five of the Bavarians' 18 goals.
"Personally, football isn't about titles or trophies," Müller said of his modus operandi. "It's always about experiencing that winning feeling. Whether it's in a training match, in the Bundesliga or the Champions League final. You always want to be the best. To achieve that feeling, I'm always ready to go to my mental and physical limits.
"That's also what distinguishes us at Bayern. Triumph in the face of adversity; to come out even stronger when the going gets tough. That has always been a motivating factor for me, and is what we'll have to do in the coming months."
Watch: All of Thomas Müller's Bundesliga goals and assists in 2019/20
Record champions Bayern - a point behind leaders RB Leipzig in the current Bundesliga standings - return to competitive action on 15 October when they travel to German minnows FC Düren in their rescheduled DFB Cup-first-round tie.
It is one of six fixtures facing who Müller has described as "Europe's most hunted team" before the month is out. Arminia Bielefeld (a), Atletico Madrid (h), Eintracht Frankfurt (h), Lokomotiv Moscow (a) and Cologne (a) complete their pre-Halloween schedule. History suggests it'll be Müller and Co. doing all the spooking.
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