Thomas Mueller made his 300th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern Munich on Saturday, cementing his status as one of a dying breed to have only ever played for just one professional club. Of all the statistics surrounding Mueller’s career, the most eye-catching is that Bayern are unbeaten in the 84 league games in which he has scored.
The 29-year-old attacking midfielder reached the milestone in Bayern’s 4-0 demolition of Hanover 96. Although he failed to find the net against Hanover, he did set up the opening goal for Joshua Kimmich.
He picked up the first straight red card of any otherwise well-behaved career in Wednesday’s thrilling 3-3 Champions League draw at Ajax after being sent off for accidentally kicking Nicholas Tagliafico in the head. Although Mueller argued about the decision in the immediate aftermath, he was later quick to apologise.
His golden reputation was tarnished by poor displays in Germany’s woeful World Cup performances, but he has fought his way back into Niko Kovac’s starting line-up with Bayern after a spell on the bench last month following a dip in form for the club.
He has now made 463 appearances for Bayern in all competitions, scoring 181 goals and creating 157 more, since joining in 2000 at the age of 10. Born in the Bavarian town of Paehl, south of Munich, Mueller rose steadily through Bayern’s youth set-up and caught the eye of then head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in 2007-08 after scoring 18 goals in 26 games for the Under-19s.
Mueller made his Bundesliga debut a month before his 19th birthday, coming off the bench on the opening day of the 2008-09 season. Klinsmann was sacked in April 2009, but one of his successors, Louis van Gaal, propelled Mueller into Bayern’s first team. “He threw me in at the deep end,” Mueller said. “I made my debut before he arrived, but he then relied on me continually.
“I would say that my biggest influence was Louis van Gaal, because I was at the best age to be influenced. Van Gaal’s faith was rewarded with 13 goals and 10 assists as Bayern won the Bundesliga and German Cup in 2009-10. Even if Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are available, Mueller will always play in my team,” Van Gaal famously declared.”