Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller was once again left out of Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI as the team scuffled its way through a 2-1 win over a hapless Werder Bremen.
Before the match, Tuchel attempted to get out in front of the issue by explaining the strategy behind leaving the Raumdeuter on the bench again, which we covered here.
While Tuchel’s rationale might have been sound to the coaching staff, it likely was tough to stomach for fans watching the team underperform once again. After the match, Tuchel again addressed the issue, but spoke more about the bigger picture for Müller rather than this game in isolation. Unfortunately for Tuchel, he began to deflect the questioning from Sky into other areas, like it being disrespectful to the other players not selected.
“Respect must be preserved. I have huge respect for Thomas Müller, but also for those who start and for the decision that is made. There are other players sitting on the bench. We all have to get used to the fact that such decisions have to be made,” Tuchel told Sky (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “I know that Thomas has a special role here and he gets that from me too. I hope he’s feeling that. I understand the debate, but it’s a bit too much, especially today. I have understanding for a question, but less understanding for 100 questions on matchday. The way Thomas acts professionally, trains and the influence he has on the team is great.
“He didn’t start against Hertha due to a back problem, and today we decided to keep the same players because Serge (Gnabry) scored and Jamal (Musiala) trained extremely well. There have to be tough decisions, otherwise we won’t reach our goals. That’s all I can say.”
The situation comes at an odd time as Müller’s replacement, Musiala, has been in a Rückrunde-long slump, which has added some tension to the situation.
When asked if he was kickstarting the end of Müller’s career, Tuchel was a bit miffed: “Maybe keep things in moderation…that’s a bit wide of the mark.”
Tuchel’s next squad selection will give fans an idea for how this will work with Müller, but the veteran is likely going to have contemplate his future. Tuchel already seems to be annoyed by the questioning and it likely will not let up if Müller is on the pine once again next Saturday vs. Schalke 04.