Munich – Thomas Müller gave himself an early gift the day before his 26th birthday by scoring the penalty which earned FC Bayern München three points against FC Augsburg on Matchday 4.
The German international's sixth goal of the season ensured Bayern kept up their perfect start to the campaign with a 2-1 win, while keeping him at the top of the scoring charts. It was not the easiest goal he has scored, however, as Müller admitted when addressing the media after the match. Despite now having netted 19 out of 21 penalties for the record German champions, there was something about Saturday's spot-kick that even turned Müller's legs to jelly...
Question: Thomas Müller, Bayern had 80 percent possession and 27 shots to four on goal. It looked pretty one-sided, yet it was on a knife edge right to the very end. How do you explain how narrow the win was, despite this superiority?
Thomas Müller: We conceded a goal on Augsburg's first attack of the game. In the first half, we had the problem that we were taking one or two seconds too long with everything. We were probably just a bit sleepy in possession. At this level in a battle for the title, we can't afford that. We're putting ourselves under pressure, but we really shouldn't be. It's just a psychological thing.
Question: What was different in the second half?
Müller: We played a similar style, but with a different body language. There's no doubt we deserved this win. You just have to have seen the game to recognise this. We created lots of chances, but unfortunately we didn't take many. It would have been nice to have scored a goal a bit earlier.
'He wanted to know where I was going to shoot, so I told him'
Question: What did you make of the incident which earned the decisive penalty?
Müller: Douglas Costa knocked the ball past Markus Feulner and was going to go past him to his right. Feulner didn't move much in his direction, but he definitely blocks him. I think the contact was there. There's always controversy when a penalty is awarded in the 90th minute. The penalty put me into a pressure cooker. Even for an experienced player like me, I had butterflies in my stomach taking that penalty to make it 2-1 in the 90th minute.
Question: Augsburg's goalkeeper Marwin Hitz tried to put you off before the penalty. What did he say to you?
Müller: We've known each other for quite a while and it was just a brief exchange. He wanted to know where I was going to shoot, so I told him.
Question: After the first four matches of the season, Bayern are now level with Borussia Dortmund on 12 points, yet you are second on goal difference. It's looking like the old rivalry is back again. Did you expect this?
Müller: It's nothing strange at all. As far as I was concerned, Dortmund were one of the title contenders before the season started. They've not changed much, they just had a crazy six months last year.
Question: How great an impact has Thomas Tuchel had on BVB?
Müller: A new coach always gives you fresh impetus. I can't imagine Dortmund have been all that happy to be so far behind us in the past three years and now they want to attack us again. That's the Bundesliga for you! It makes it all a bit less relaxing for us now we've got a very aggressive rival, but that's also what makes things so exciting.
Question: Finally, how important was this win in view of the opening UEFA Champions League match against Olympiacos on Wednesday?
Müller: It's given us three days of relative peace and quiet compared to how it would have been if we'd only drawn. At the end of the day, our focus now is on winning our opening game in Europe in Athens.
Maximilian Lotz reporting from Munich