Eat. Sleep. Win titles. Repeat. That is the modus vivendi at 24-time Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München, according to Thomas Müller.
The 26-year-old Raumdeuter has already hit a single-season career best 14 Bundesliga goals in 2015/16, and is now looking forward to a full-on tilt at Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup glory.
bundesliga.com: Thomas Müller, 2015 is over. What’s your take on it, looking back?
Thomas Müller: 2015 certainly wasn’t a bad year. In a sporting sense, we largely had good times. Unfortunately we weren’t competing in finals at the end of 2014/15, either in the Champions League or the DFB Cup. Going out of both competitions in the semi finals was a bit of a downer. Other than that, it was a good year. The fans were smiling more often than they were crying. That’s a positive. Obviously, though, there’s always room for improvement at FC Bayern when you don’t win everything.
bundesliga.com: Robert Lewandowski’s five-goal haul against VfL Wolfsburg stands out when you think of the many fantastic Bayern performances in 2015. Is that one of your personal highlights?
Müller: Definitely. There were a few highlights. We played some fantastic football in 2015. We started this season well, too. We brought in a few new players, so that’s why you’ve seen another side to FC Bayern. We were really happy with the first half of the season. Now we want to show that we can carry that form into 2016.
bundesliga.com: How much fun was the Hinrunde?
Müller: Fun’s guaranteed when you’re playing every four days for four months. There were definitely times an hour before games when you weren’t jumping for joy at the thought of kick-off, but as soon as the referee blew his whistle or when you got on the ball for the first time, it was another story. It’s fun to be on the pitch with good players. It’s been that way at Bayern for a number of years now. The club is always developing.
bundesliga.com: What’s your take on Kingsley Coman’s first few months or so at FC Bayern?
Müller: It was a bit of a surprise how well Kingsley slotted in. At 19, he was still a relative unknown. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s very reliable for his age.
bundesliga.com: In December you signed a long-term contract extension. What do FC Bayern mean to you?
Müller: That’s difficult to say because I’ve been here for such a long time. On the face of it, the club means a lot to me. I’ve been here and a part of the club since I was 15. I think the club have made some serious progress, especially in the last six, seven years. Sporting-wise, we’re one of the best in Europe. It’s a special club to play for, having supported them as a kid. I grew up in the area, played in the youth team. I lived and breathed the club as a youth player and know Säbener Straße inside-out, although it all starts over again every year. New players, new coaches, trips. It’s always changing, but overall the club is a huge part of my life.
bundesliga.com: How disappointed are you that Pep Guardiola is leaving the club at the end of the season?
Müller: ‘Disappointed’ is a little excessive. We all hoped he’d stay, but that’s business. He signed a three-year contract. There’s nothing wrong with honouring your contract. He’s already said he wants a new challenge. He wants to coach in England. And Munich is not England. That’s why he hasn’t extended his contract. We all want to pull together and give everything in his last six months so that we win a lot, wow people and enjoy big moments together. That’s why you train, that’s why we’re at a training camp - for the games that capture your heart. We’re going to give everything to make sure we have our cake and eat it on all three fronts.
bundesliga.com: Who was your Player of the Hinrunde?
Müller: I don’t really like talking about others, or myself for that matter. I’d have too much to say, right? (laughs)
bundesliga.com: Is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a candidate?
Müller: He plays for the wrong club.
bundesliga.com: Which teams surprised you in the Hinrunde?
Müller: Every year there are one or two surprises. The promoted clubs have done well so far, too. Perhaps that’s a little unexpected. At the same time, you have to take a look at what's going on lower down when there are some surprises higher up. At the moment there are teams at the bottom that you expected better of. I think Hoffenheim have had a few problems this season. But I haven’t studied the table in any particular detail (laughs).
bundesliga.com: How happy were you with your own performances?
Müller: I’m in good form and I’ve maybe played a bit more compared with last season. I play with very good players, who feed me the ball and make life easier for me. It’s always give and take. Everyone tries to give the other space. The more good players there are on the pitch, the more room there is for an individual. That was the secret. The important thing is that the team played well. ‘Lewy’ and I have done a really good job in front of goal.
bundesliga.com: Who’s still a threat to Bayern in the title race?
Müller: Dortmund are our main title rivals. The last matchday of the Hinrunde went perfectly for us. We won in Hannover despite having personnel problems. At the time time, Dortmund lost in Köln. That was a perfect scenario for us just before the Christmas holidays. That’s what we wanted. That’s why it now looks, with eight points, like we’ve got quite a big lead at the top. We also know that things can change quickly in football, but obviously we don’t want to let anybody in. We don’t want to miss out on anything else and stop developing. We have to win our games. That’s difficult enough.