"Pick up the ball and run with it" - Hansi Flick (l.) has long trusted Thomas Müller (r.), whom he now manages at Bayern Munich - © 2019 Getty Images
"Pick up the ball and run with it" - Hansi Flick (l.) has long trusted Thomas Müller (r.), whom he now manages at Bayern Munich - © 2019 Getty Images
bundesliga

Thomas Müller: The man to lead the Hansi Flick revolution at Bayern Munich?

Bayern Munich look revitalised by the appointment of interim coach Hansi Flick, the reigning Bundesliga champions back to their rampant best with club legend Thomas Müller at the heart of re-stoking the Bayern fire.

Following Bayern's 5-1 trouncing at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 10 and subsequent departure of Niko Kovac, the record Bundesliga champions' campaign looked to be unravelling.

But since the appointment of the 54-year-old Flick, an air of stability has wafted through the famous Allianz Arena halls and a sense of normality regained in the shape of back-to-back wins in the UEFA Champions League and Bundesliga.

And if the 2-0 win over Olympiacos was a hint at what's to come under Flick, the 4-0 demolition of Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker was a warning shot that will reverberate for some time.

Thomas Müller's 500th Bayern appearance was celebrated before the 4-0 Klassiker victory over Dortmund. - 2019 Getty Images

Integral to Bayern regaining their composure, while quickly putting themselves firmly back on track both at home and abroad, is Flick's inspired move to look toward his most seasoned professionals to lead the Bayern charge.

Nobody more so than Müller, who Flick has immediately restored to his favoured position behind and alongside record-breaking partner in crime Robert Lewandowski.

Few know better than Flick just how great an influence Müller can exert, having previously worked together during Germany's FIFA World Cup winning exploits in 2014 where Joachim Löw and his right-hand man got the best out of their squad by getting the best out of Müller.

"Niko appreciates Thomas as a player and a man, I know that," Flick explained when taking over from Kovac. "I've known Thomas for a little longer, he's important for the club, has won everything there is to win except the Euros. He's intelligent and can lead a team."

Thomas Müller (front.) and Hansi Flick (r.) worked together closely as Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. - imago sportfotodienst

The intelligence and leadership that Flick speaks of has been a hallmark of Müller's already legendary one-club career but at 30 years old, the 100-time capped Germany international is still adding to his game.

He may not be the 30-goal forward he was in 2015/16 but Müller is still a potent part of Bayern's attack. Not only is he the man to have teed up Lewandowski more times than any other player, but he has also romped to the top of the league's assist charts despite starting only six of the first 11 matchdays of the 2019/20 campaign.

Müller has laid on six assists for his teammates in the league already, a return no Bundesliga player is able to better and one only equalled by Dortmund's Thorgan Hazard, who has been on the pitch for 187 minutes more than Müller.

Watch: Müller: "Not important for me to be top scorer"

And with "very good young players in the attacking line," Müller is more than happy to adapt his own game as long as it benefits Bayern.

"I'm maybe not that goalscorer any more," he said after his pair of assists against Dortmund. "I try to be more responsible for the whole team, to give the team structure, organisation and power, and try to do assists.

"I also try to score goals but when I have to decide between going into the box or maybe trying to secure the zone in front of the box for the counter-attack, sometimes I decide for the defensive action.

"I try to win games, I try to be important for my team but it's not that important for me to be the top scorer.

"Since I'm a little older now, I know that you're always particularly motivated. From my point of view, that's the difference and why we became German champions seven times in a row."

It is a testament to Müller's longevity - and breakout at such a young age - that 12 seasons into his professional career, he is only getting better.

Watch: Thomas Müller's roots

While it has an air of "old dog, new tricks" about Müller's constant development, he is still only 30 and has plenty of football ahead of him. And, as Flick pointed out following the 2-0 victory over Olympiacos, Müller is still full of both willing and running.

"We focused on the defensive side against Olympiacos," explained Flick, who made 139 appearances and won four Bundesliga titles as a Bayern player.

"The team did well. Kimmich ran 13.6km (8.5 miles), Thomas Müller 12.6 (7.8). That's a huge value. Offensively, we still have room for improvement. If you have a good defence, the attack gets better. That's our focus at the moment."

It's a focus Müller has clearly bought into, and for anyone that has followed the original Raumdeuter's career over the years, it will come as no surprise that Müller is not only driving himself to greater heights, but also everyone around him.

Barny Read