Thomas Müller enjoys the esteemed company of some of the best players in the world at Bayern Munich, but that hasn't stopped him throwing admiring glances at Borussia Dortmund counterpart Jadon Sancho.
Müller, 30, has played alongside the likes of Miroslav Klose, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger down the years, and currently heads the 2019/20 Bundesliga assists charts as part of a team that counts Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry as its own.
The one-club man has set up 12 goals for his teammates already this term, but isn't surprised to have last season's assist king, Sancho, in hot pursuit.
"Jadon Sancho is a superb player," Müller told Sportbuzzer. "He's a menace with his technique, speed and dribbling. There are other players in the Bundesliga with those qualities, but they don't have his exceptional decision making."
Watch: Jadon Sancho's goals and assists during the first half of 2019/20
Sancho produced 12 goals and a league-leading 14 assists in his first full season in the Bundesliga, but is on track to blow those numbers out of the water in 2019/20. After 19 rounds of fixtures, he has scored 11 and assisted just as many, helped by a run of one of each in six of his last eight matches.
Müller, meanwhile, helped himself to his fourth Bundesliga goal of the season in the Matchday 19 win over Schalke. All his strikes – as well as two thirds of his assist tally – have fallen in the period since Hansi Flick was installed as interim coach in place of Niko Kovac ahead of the first Klassiker of the season against Dortmund.
Müller has featured in every game, making eight starts. Under Kovac, he began on the bench for half of Bayern's first 10 games of the league campaign.
"I couldn't understand it then and I still can't now about why I was on the bench for six competitive matches in a row, because I really felt I could help the team. It wasn't what I envisaged my role to be when I'd only just turned 30.
Bayern were fourth – four points behind then pacesetters Gladbach – when Flick took the reins. If the defending champions beat Mainz on Matchday 20, they will climb to a provisional first [Leipzig take on third-placed Gladbach in Saturday's late game] for the first time since the final weekend of September 2019.
It was confirmed during the winter break that Flick will remain in charge of first-team affairs until the end of the campaign, but Müller says he would welcome a more long-term arrangement.
"Hansi is doing a fantastic job as coach, and has a massive influence on the team owing to his human qualities," the eight-time Bundesliga winner explained.
"Expectations at Bayern are so high, though. We can't say we're happy just because we're playing well, when we're still doing the chasing. But if we continue in this vein [and win the title] Flick is surely the club's first port of call."