Senin, 28 Juni 2010

Thomas Mueller: Germany's new No. 13

The 13 is for many an unlucky number, but for others it's the right opposite. The number 13 jersey of the German national football team has a lot of history, positive history to be precise for West Germany and the now united Germany. And the No. 13 has a history with a player called Mueller wearing the jersey. And young Thomas Mueller seems to be continuing this tradition having already scored three goals in his first FIFA World Cup.

The men of the past we are talking about are legendary German striker Gerd Mueller and up to his injury in the FA Cup in May 2010 midfielder Michael Ballack was supposed to wear the No. 13 in South Africa again for Germany.

Gerd Mueller is one of the best strikers of all times having scored a sensational 68 goals in 62 international matches. And 14 of those goals came in FIFA World Cup's with Gerd Mueller second only to Brazilian Ronaldo who has scored 15 goals.

And Michael Ballack will be known to most football fans having worn the No. 13 not only for Germany, but also at his clubs Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and FC Chelsea.

Now 20 year old Bayern Munich all-rounder Thomas Mueller is wearing the jersey in the tournament. Thomas Mueller knows the weight of expectations a Mueller in a German No. 13 jersey has amongst the German public. And it seems to have brought him and the whole team luck. Mueller is a utility player who can play anywhere upfront in an attacking position, be it on the wings, withdrawn or as a central striker. But coach Joachim Loew is using him as a winger on the right flank, a position which was vacant in the German national team since Bastian Schweinsteiger moved into the middle into a more defensive midfield position. And Thomas Mueller has been able to fill this position with near perfection as he continues to play like he has done all season for Bayern Munich. 100% commitment, moving into the open spaces, playing intelligent football and using his technical abilities which does sometimes look awkward, but he has shown again and again that this works for him.

Now on three goals in four matches and following the performance against England where he caused major problems to an internationally experienced left back in Ashley Cole expectations are rising. But Mueller stays focused and now has only one aim - win the cup for Germany. As he rightly said after the England game, "What's the value of this victory if we now don't continue to win."
And being the guy he is while signing off he greeted his grand parents whom he hadn't talked to in a while.

Mueller is an intelligent and down to earth guy. And at 20 years of age he knows what he wants. Already married, settled at such a young age, Mueller is a prime example of maturity can come early. The last year has often been a one way street for him which only knew one direction and that was up. But even if setbacks come, Thomas Mueller will master them. And whatever happens from now on, Mueller looks set to be a prime candidate for being FIFA's "Young Player of the Tournament" set to follow in the footsteps of team mate Lukas Podolski who won the award in 2006.

And also Thomas Mueller once more shows what excellent youth development work German giants Bayern Munich are doing. Mueller is one of six players who have come through the ranks of Bayern's youth Academy.

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