Thomas Müller: The English know that when Bayern come, we'll be difficult to beat
Talking of changes, what has changed under Guardiola for you personally is the role. Now you sometimes play up front.
More often than not I play in positions which I've played in before. Yes, it was only under Guardiola that I played up front, but that doesn't mean my style of play has changed. Of course, a different coach wants different things from you in certain positions, and that's also the case in the positions I can play. But there haven't been any elementary changes someone couldn't understand - everything was reasonable and has been productive.
There have been a few spells where we have won games, and won them deservedly, but haven't been as commanding as we hope to be.
Apart from putting players in new positions, Guardiola has also changed the formation. It must take time to adjust to all these novelties. When did you practice these things?
Of course we elaborated on the coach's most important principles during the pre-season preparations, during the training camp. Things like attacking the opposition early and how players in various positions have to act when pressing or when we're building from the back. We practiced what we're expected to do.
We're asking because it's astonishing how well things are going, considering so many things have been changed...
It depends how you look at it. Of course you could say that when you bring in a new coach it takes time until things run smoothly and successfully. You're right, though: as far as the results are concerned, things are going brilliantly and there have been times when we've been playing extremely good football. But there have also been a few spells where we won the games, and won them deservedly, but weren't as commanding as we hope to be.
Can you work on the finer points during the season at all, considering your busy schedule?
You can do some theoretical work, with the video screen or tactics boards. That's possible during the season. But yes, it's hard to squeeze in long training sessions to really rehearse things.
After the Hoffenheim game, Guardiola said he might have to reconsider his concept. How would you describe this concept — is it mixing Bayern with Barcelona?
He has a vision of the game and he was certainly shaped during his time at Barcelona. It isn't about having possession just for the sake of it, that's not the concept. It's about using possession to position the team in the opposition's half in a way that makes us less liable to be hit on the break, making sure there are no big gaps between the players when possession is lost.
People in England know that when Bayern come to the British Isles, it will be difficult to beat them.
How would you describe Guardiola's coaching style? Does he talk to the players a lot?
It's true he often speaks with us players, but Jupp Heynckes and Van Gaal did that, too. He wants us to understand his ideas and back them, instead of just executing them.
Guardiola has also said he's surprised about how competitive the league is. Do you think the Bundesliga is still underestimated abroad?
It's hard for me to say how the Bundesliga is perceived in other countries. What I can say is that we don't just have two teams, as they have in Spain. We have a very broad 'midfield' in Germany in which everyone can beat everyone. The table doesn't always reflect how close the games are. All teams are physically strong, so they don't tire towards the end. Most of them are tactically astute. Our opponents always have a good gameplan to make life hard for us. So there are no walks in the park for us. Perhaps our coach was used to having some more easy games in Spain.
Do you sometimes have the feeling that it was only last season that the world woke up to how good the German game is?
It was a development that may have started with the national team. The star rose in 2010, when people suddenly said: well, the Germans can play a bit, too. That continued with many good, young players coming up, some of whom now play abroad. If you think back 10 years or so, there weren't many German players who were even targeted by foreign clubs (FFT suggests it was perhaps just Michael Ballack) Yes - that goes to show how the German game has risen in status. I can't say how people in England view our football, but I guess they know that when Bayern come to the British Isles, it will be difficult to beat them.
Portrait by Shamil Tanna.
The new issue of FourFourTwo includes an 18-page Inside Bayern feature. Read all about it...