It was the next big step forward in the quest for their 27th Bundesliga title: FC Bayern München overcame a tough task in Borussia Park to win 1-0 against Mönchengladbach. The spotlight is on the man who grabbed the winning goal: Thomas Müller. The 27-year-old World Champion discussed his second Bundesliga goal, the vast points cushion between Bayern and their pursuers, the imminent international break, and Lukas Podolski’s farewell, with DFB.de.
Question: Herr Müller, you now have a 13 point lead over your next closest competitor. What are your feelings on the game you played in Borussia Park?
Thomas Müller: It was fun, and it was an intense game. We had our foot on the pedal the whole time, so for a Sunday evening I’m pretty worn out – other people relax on Sundays!
Question: FC Bayern haven’t lost in 19 games, and march from victory to victory in the Bundesliga. What are your thoughts on this?
Müller: It was an important three points for us, because we want to stay in rhythm and maintain that winning feeling. We’re always hungry for the three points. As a team, you always want to be better than your opponent – and we accomplished that yet again today. That gives us confidence.
Question: FC Bayern have always been given a tough time when they’ve come to Gladbach in recent years. Your trip here in December 2015 was the only loss of that season for you, when you were defeated 3-1.
Müller: We were all aware of that, but such things are irrelevant.
Question: How important was that goal for you? It was your second goal of the season, after exactly 848 minutes of going without one, and your first in 99 days.
Müller: Of course, I was thrilled with it. I know I still have it in me. You could see that it was fun for me to be celebrating with the boys.
Question: It can’t have been the easiest of finishes after Thiago chipped the ball into the penalty area.
Müller: I made the run, saw the ball was coming, and knew I was free. However, I didn’t have 100% control of the ball, it got caught up a bit between my legs. Then, I hesitated for a second, and Gladbach’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer decided to dive for a corner, and I then reacted to his decision. Theoretically I could have shot straight away, but it was good to have done it like I did.
Question: Have Bayern won the league?
Müller: It’s a fact that no team with this large a lead has ever lost it, and we don’t believe that anybody will take this lead from us. But we remain hungry for that winning feeling, week after week. Hence we continue to do things with intensity, whilst having fun. We won’t allow ourselves to get distracted, and we’ll continue to keep it up.
Question: Arjen Robben seemed annoyed and bitter, that he was taken off in the 85th minute. Earlier in the game he was visibly frustrated when he didn’t receive the ball.
Müller: We all want to play as much as possible. In the second-half, there was an instance where Lewy was looking to shoot, even though Arjen was in a very good position, and that was frustrating for him of course. But we’re all human, and it’s a good thing that he has that fire inside of him, better than if he didn’t care at all. That’s ultimately what distinguishes us: even when a lot of us have been in this business for a long time and have won many titles, we still show emotion at taking a 1-0 lead. That’s exactly what we need.
Question: What was your reaction to when Gladbach’s Jonas Hofmann admitted to the referee that he wasn’t fouled?
Müller: That doesn’t happen often, and it’s praise-worthy. I think the action was honoured both on the pitch and all around the stadium. We then gave the ball back, so no team was penalised. It was a scene where everyone could see that fair-play in sport is important and what it can do for our society.
Question: Now you have two weeks until your next Bundesliga game, your attention turns to the National Team. Which of the two international games means more to you: the friendly against England in Dortmund on Wednesday, or the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku on Sunday?
Müller: From an emotional standpoint, it’s of course Wednesday’s game due to it being Lukas Podolski’s final match. We’re playing at home, and it’ll be very special for Poldi. But Sunday’s game is not a friendly, so both games are important, but different.
Question: How good is it to join the National Team having scored the goal against Gladbach?
Müller: I’m joining the team feeling happy. Perhaps the break will do some good so the league can get over how shocking it is that I scored (laughs).
Question: Is there a particular anecdote about Lukas Podolski that comes to mind spontaneously?
Müller: The most special, story-worthy moments I have shared with Poldi, I would prefer not to share! (grins).