BERLIN – Thomas Muller said Bayern Munich must use the criticism from their shock German Cup disaster to help them secure a spot in the Champions League knockout phase by beating Benfica today.
Muller, 32, scored and created three assists last Saturday as Bayern romped to a 5-2 win at Union Berlin to stay top of the Bundesliga three days after their 5-0 Cup rout by Borussia Monchengladbach.
In the Champions League, Bayern are five points clear in Group E and a win over Benfica would guarantee a spot in the last 16.
But despite bouncing back, the club remain hurt by the string of negative headlines in the aftermath of their Cup upset, which Muller wants to use as extra motivation.
“When Bayern crashed out of the Cup with a 5-0 defeat, it’s clear that one or two comments were made that are slightly below the belt,” said the Germany forward, who has netted six times in 16 appearances, while contributing 11 assists.
“(The criticism) is OK with me, we’re not made of eggshells – you have to be able to take it sometimes, but we must not forget that we are still out of the Cup.
“We didn’t just lose a game, but (are out of) a competition that means a lot to us. We have to deal with that accordingly.”
Assistant coach Dino Toppmoller, believes Muller is playing some of the best football of his distinguished career and Bayern will be leaning on the veteran as they attempt to put the thrashing firmly behind them.
“Thomas is a very important player for us with a lot of experience and in games like this, you need leaders like Thomas,” he said.
Reigning Best Fifa Men’s Player Robert Lewandowski, who netted twice in Berlin on Saturday, is set to make his 100th Champions League appearance in Portugal and will be eager to add to his tally in Europe, with five goals in three games this season.
The Bavarian giants should also be boosted by the return of head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who missed the Cup loss and the weekend victory after testing positive for Covid-19. He is expected to be back on the bench after spending the past 14 days at home in isolation.