"We're not the hunters - you are!" Thomas Müller is ready to help Bayern Munich redress the balance against Borussia Dortmund. - © DFL
"We're not the hunters - you are!" Thomas Müller is ready to help Bayern Munich redress the balance against Borussia Dortmund. - © DFL

Thomas Müller on Bayern Munich being the hunters in the title race, Borussia Dortmund and Der Klassiker


Thomas Müller knows what it takes to beat Borussia Dortmund - he also knows how it feels to lose to them. bundesliga.com spoke to Bayern Munich's crafty veteran ahead of Saturday's Klassiker at the Allianz Arena, where second hosts first, separated by a single point...

Click here for all the latest news and build-up to Der Klassiker!

bundesliga.com: After winning so confidently against Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Champions League, the defeat to Bayer Leverkusen came as a surprise. How do you explain it?

Thomas Müller: "Our goal and our must-have is to win the Bundesliga title, for sure. The pressure is on now for the next game against Dortmund and I think you have prepared a lot of questions about the Klassiker. When the season started again in 2023, the circumstances were different and we created our own problems a little bit, so now we have to solve them. That’s what we have to do."

bundesliga.com: You've been a professional for a long time now. Which things do you enjoy more today than when you were younger - and which less?

Müller: "We are always on the hunt for this feeling when you are successful, and this hasn’t changed. These moments when you win at home against PSG and the whole stadium is cheering, these are the moments you train for. The stage is set in Der Klassiker get these emotions again, but we still have to work hard for that."

Watch: Der Klassiker - time to get real!

bundesliga.com: In the Bundesliga, Bayern haven't lost at home to BVB since 2014. Why do you always manage to impress and often dominate in this match, in Munich in particular?

Müller: "Borussia Dortmund are, and always were, a team that want to play attacking football with good offensive players. This means that it is quite normal that there are a lot of goals in these games. Our record against them sounds pretty good and it also felt very good in the last years, so we want to continue this. When you look at Dortmund right now, they have had very good results and they are conceding fewer goals, so we will see what happens."

bundesliga.com: If you had to describe this clash to an outsider who knows very little about the Klassiker, how would you do it, and why should they watch it?

Müller: "Dear outsider, watch it and then you can see it! It’s a very intense football match between the two biggest clubs in Germany and we are waiting for you!"

bundesliga.com: The starting position for the Klassiker against Dortmund is unusual because Bayern are in the role of the chaser. To what extent does that play a role in your mind?

Müller: "It’s a bad feeling at first because you need to find your feet when you have been flipped from the hunted to the hunter. That happened last Sunday and the feelings for the first three days after that were very bad. You think a lot about it and when we start again next week with our preparation for the Klassiker, we will talk about it and what we can maybe adapt in the small details. We will then go for it with our fans in the Allianz Arena and with these kinds of games such as the one against PSG in mind. We are used to performing under pressure, but there’s no guarantee. It’s important to not feel safe and to have these kinds of emotions in your stomach. The importance of this game is maybe much higher than it has been in previous years because of the situation."

Translation: Full steam ahead! Preparations for the Klassiker against BVB are under way!

bundesliga.com: Bayern-BVB was not always the top match in the history of the Bundesliga. What do you think are the legendary stories or scenes that made this game what it is today?

Müller: "My real rival was always Borussia Dortmund in my career because they were the only team that could compete with us. Maybe not every year, but they were our biggest competitor most years. I won the title in 2010, but at the beginning of my career in 2011 and 2012, we had big problems with them."

bundesliga.com: Think back to the games with BVB in 2011/2012, of which Bayern lost a few. In particular, the defeat in the 2012 cup final. Please take us into your world of thoughts back then. Frustration? Anger?

Müller: "I think Uli Hoeneß said previously that this big defeat in the cup final in 2012 when we lost 5-2 was not just a win for Dortmund, they humiliated us. We then got Robert Lewandowski and Mario Götze from them, as well as my friend Mats Hummels, so I think we started to attack them not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch. In the following years, we did better than them."

bundesliga.com: Are there one or more Klassiker matches that you personally have particularly fond memories of?

Müller: "One of the most important games in my career was the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley. That was the biggest game against them and it was also very close. In the first 15 minutes, they were the better team but after that, we took over and it was very close in the end."

Watch: Thomas Müller - a Klassiker specialist

bundesliga.com: What do remember of this real rivalry of the Klassiker?

Müller: "You always felt as a player that when this game was coming up, not only domestic audiences but also international audiences were interested in these games. It was always a football festival with classy players and they were never boring games. At this time, both teams had really big players and most of the time, a big player at Dortmund became a really big player at one of the biggest teams in Europe a few years later. You can see the great talents they have developed such as [Ousmane] Dembele, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Erling] Haaland, [Jadon] Sancho and so on. They have had a lot of very good players and you need big players for big games."

bundesliga.com: In the first game against BVB this season you conceded a very late goal. Rather untypical for Bayern, wasn’t it?

Müller: "We feel that we have had these kinds of games all season in which we know that we are not unbeatable. That’s not a good feeling, but that’s the reality and we have to deal with it. We have also had the experience this season of games where we have put in a very good performance. When you look at our Champions League season, we have had eight games against big names and big teams and we only conceded two goals. We played against Inter Milan, against Barcelona twice, and against PSG twice, and we only conceded a goal in one match at Viktoria Plzen. You can see the potential when the pressure is on, but it’s not a given that we can show it every time again. We know what we are able to do and that’s a good feeling, so maybe we can talk again after the Klassiker."

Watch: Bayern surrendered a 2-0 lead in Dortmund earlier this season

bundesliga.com: How would you explain losing games this year that Bayern would not normally lose?

Müller: "Maybe in some of these games and during some periods of these games, we are not as sharp as we are during the games on the bigger stage in the Champions League. When I say this, it’s sometimes interpreted as being an issue of mentality. Maybe it is a little bit mental because we differentiate between these types of games when we are honest with ourselves. If you look at the Klassiker, this is one of those games where we normally perform, so we have to be there, but April as a whole is unbelievable for us. We have the cup against Freiburg, who are also a very good team in Germany, we are playing against Dortmund, we are playing twice against Manchester City, and we also have to play in the Bundesliga. There is nothing to lose, so the pressure is on and maybe after April we can talk about whether we are team to be remembered or not."

bundesliga.com: You said in an interview in Leverkusen that you have to win the Klassiker. How decisive is this match in terms of the championship?

Müller: "It could be, but it’s only one game and I think we have nine left. One out of nine does not seem like a decider, but maybe it will show us the direction it’s going."