German striker, Thomas Müller, is known for sending balls to the back of the net with unerring accuracy and fabulous frequency in almost every single tournament that he has ever played in. However, when it comes to the European Championships, it is a different story for the 26-year-old.
In the 2012 World Cup, Müller hit 5 goals, and then in the last World Cup two years ago, his total reached 10 goals in 13 games. In his twenties, the striker won that competition’s Golden Boot.
However, for some reason, the wait continues for the Bayern Munich forward’s first goal after eight games over two European Championships.
It appears that Müller has hit the football equivalent of a writer’s block. He failed to score even once at Euro 2012, and repeated the feat in this summer’s tournament, eventually drawing another blank in front of goal as Löw’s men crashed out at the hands of the hosts. For the usually ruthless Müller, even six on goal shots and many gilt-edged chances have not been enough for him to find the back of the net.
When qualifying for Euro 2016, he scored nine of Germany’s total 24 goals, and out of the 73 international games he has played in, he notched up 32 strikes – not at all bad for a player who does not always play in a classical number nine role. Even his penalties are seeming to falter, after missing his penalty in a marathon shootout win over Italy in the quarter-finals.
When asked about it, Müller has no concerns over his lack of goals at Euros 2016. He told Sky Sports that although he hopes he does score, it is not his main focus. He also went on to say that football is a very complex game.
“Because it looks good in theory or the drawing board, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work out effortlessly in reality. A football game is very complex.”
“You have to stay hungry and keep going where it hurts, to try and get to the ball a step quicker than the opponent. Regardless of whether you’re praised to the heavens or a bit criticised, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to either.”
So, what is the problem when it comes to the Euros? Although the striker claims his dry spell is not an overburdening weight for him, there is still something amiss in front of goal. So, what seems to be the problem?
When you look at Müller’s role in the Euro 2016, it is not solely about scoring. His input on the games he has played
has been great, both defensively and as a striker, and it is also worth recognising that Müller has had more successful tackles than any other of his team-mates. Out of the four teams to reach the semi-final, the only player to have made more is Welshman James Chester.
Also, with such a packed tournament, fatigue may be a bit of a problem for him. This is always a common theme
throughout any massive knock-out competition, with many of the biggest players appearing to be worn down by the demands.
When it comes to chance creation, this has not been an issue for the German. Considering his lack of goals, it can be surprising to find that in Euro 2016, his average attempts work out at 3.2 per game. In the 2014 World Cup, he was sitting at only 2.3 per game. Out of the 19 attempts he has made, two have hit the post and only four have been on target.
However, apart from his lack of goals, Müller was on top form with his unpredictable runs causing defenders many problems. Müller is known to be one that sets the tone, and has proven he is capable in plenty of his other games. Maybe we should cut the guy some slack, and simply admire the huge influence he has on a brilliant; if temporarily unsuccessful, German team.
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