Muller- The Raumdeuter
Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller plays is a unique position. Is it a false 9 or is it advance playmaker or even a second striker? Some would say that he is all over the place, so labelling him as a specific position on the pitch is difficult to identify. As a player who does not have blistering pace or dancing feet or even great aerial presence, he has been a main-stay in the side for many years under some really demanding managers.
These statistics show Muller is involved heavily in goal involvement over the last 5 years but what makes him the player he is.
Muller has been given the name 'Raumdeuter' in German, which translates to something along the lines of “space interpreter or space investigator’ and is considered as a role within the team rather than a specific position. Within this piece we will look at Thomas Mullers role in the last two Der Klassiker game a huge grudge match between two of the biggest clubs not just in Germany but world football.
Game 1- 09/11/2019
Bayern Munich 4 Borussia Dortmund 0
Thomas Muller had 75 touches of the football as this shows they came from all over the pitch.
Mullers made 53 successful passes in this match and again the range of position he picks up are right across the pitch making him difficult to man mark. His constant change of position makes man marking a very difficult task as he will create space for others.
This heat map just highlights the movement, looking for space but also creating confusion within the opposition. As this heat map suggests he is slightly heavier in the wide right position this is due to the opponents wing backs perhaps neglecting their defensive responsibilities.
Goal 1 Muller finds the space between CB and FB as Lewandowski moves to near post muller stays ready for a tap in if ball gets to him, this movement will clear the space for others to exploit while also being in a position getting into a goal scoring area himself.
Muller again finding space in between the lines arrive at the edge of the box resulting in a goal but was disallowed for offside in the end. Arriving at the right time again not just creating space for the sake of it but getting himself into a goal scoring position himself.
Muller picks up space on the wide left hand side with the quality of pass splitting lines Muller races into space creating an assist for Bayerns 2nd goal, This also provides evidence of his intelligence and run timing.
Muller again checks his run, dropping into space resulting in a of target shot, like stated before not just creating space making himself available not just for a pass but also a goalscoring opportunity.
Finding space wide again unmarked constantly moving around the pitch, further evidence the space and different areas of the pitch.
Coming in on the blindside of Dortmund defenders constantly in space gives defenders nightmares.
Game 2- 26/05/2020
Borussia Dortmund 0 Bayern Munich 1
Muller had 48 touches in this match mainly in opponents half again all across the final third.
Muller made 39 successful passes 33 of those came in the opponents half.
Mullers heat map shows again the range of movement constantly moving, picking up the ball in all areas.
Muller again decides to fake a run and instead drifts into space.
Playing in between lines and finding space completely unmarked.
Intelligent movement on and around the ball makes Muller unique and very difficult to mark.
Overall he definitely deserves his tag. This is because so few players can be naturally assigned to the role of ramdeuter – it is a role intrinsically based on a player’s strengths as opposed to being an aspect of a tactical system. Essentially, it requires a player to roam from a wide starting position, find space and operate as something of a poacher, or as Müller himself says: “It’s all about the timing between the person who plays the pass and the person making a run into the right zone".