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Thomas Müller

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby JANCKER » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:09 am

His role is different this year... in the preseason they said that he was training to play on the wing. Changed his mindset and that damn penalty hurt his confidence a bit.
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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby Firefox1234 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:57 am

aterford wrote:
ramsej84 wrote:But Muller is having a bad season

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I think that what we might be seeing is that Müller's scoring last season under Pep should be considered an anomaly and not the norm. I still think Müller has plenty of room to improve this year but he's not in as much of a crisis as some may suggest.

I don't know about anomaly Muller has always had an eye for goals since his young days, he's just having a bit of a goal confidence crisis but still leading the team in assists....
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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby Manchu » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:10 am

aterford wrote:
ramsej84 wrote:But Muller is having a bad season

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I think that what we might be seeing is that Müller's scoring last season under Pep should be considered an anomaly and not the norm. I still think Müller has plenty of room to improve this year but he's not in as much of a crisis as some may suggest.


I think I've figured out what's been going on, and it has very little(or nothing) to do with Muller being out of form or in crises or even played in the wrong position.

Not that long ago, I noticed that Muller was assisting like crazy in a way he hadn't been doing all season, so I decided to check out the statistics(such few that I could access) in order to see what had changed. I knew that Ancelotti had recently moved him to the center and switched to a 4-2-3-1, so I suspected that Muller was simply playing better as a number 10 than he had been on the wings.

Sure enough, I found that Muller, according to whoscored, that Muller had 3 assists in 570 minutes as right winger these season(for one assist every 190 minutes) and had 7 assists in 779 minutes as an attacking mid/secondary striker for one assist every 111.3 minutes. That number is, by the way, one of the greatest performances I've ever seen in terms of assists from an attacking player. It's better than Ozil's best season.

So it seemed that the mystery was solved, assuming that we can take assists as a reasonable measurement of attacking performance. I had known that not getting the ball in dangerous areas had been one of the causes of the dip in Muller's performances earlier this season, and apparently moving to the center solved it. Muller was clearly a number 10 or a center forward and not an outside mid.

However, something about this conclusion bothered me. After all, hadn't Muller achieved World Cup glory on the right? Hadn't he spent a tremendous amount of time on the right throughout his career including in the Treble season? Didn't he go back to the German National Team for world cup qualification and immediately resume scoring and assisting.

That is when I recalled that Bayern playing a 4-2-3-1 meant that Xabi Alonso almost never played, and that Muller had preformed poorly the three games right after winter break when Xabi Alonso played behind him as a center defensive mid in the 4-2-3-1. That is when I took upon myself to check to see if the apparent superiority of the 4-2-3-1 was not really a measurement of something else, and what I found was shocking.

During this current Bundesliga season, Muller has 10 assist as of March 15 2017. He has played 883 minutes with Xabi Alonso, and 704 minutes without Xabi Alonso. In those 883 minutes with XA, Muller has one assist. In those 704 minutes without Xabi Alonso, he has 9(for one assist every 78.2 minutes). There is a much stronger correlation between Muller getting assists and Xabi Alonso not playing than there is between Muller playing in the center and Muller getting assists.

You might then wonder about Muller's time on the right wing then. Didn't he play on the outside for at least some time when Xabi Alonso wasn't on the pitch?

Yes, he did, but only for 145 minutes. In those precious few minutes, he assisted twice(at home against Werder Bremen, but it still counts).

So, in short, the main problem for Muller this season seems to be that there is some sort of anti-synergy going on between Xabi Alonso and Thomas Muller. Muller never plays well when Xabi Alonso is on the pitch, probably because Xabi Alonso distributes the ball in a manner that prevents Muller from receiving the ball in dangerous areas. These two should never play together under Ancelotti.

Fortunately, Xabi Alonso, who I still believe is a wonderful, world-class player if a little old, is retiring at the end of the season and the problem should solve itself. Unfortunately, it might be enough to cost Bayern Munich the Champions League in the meantime if Ancelotti can't play his best team against a powerhouse.

Of course, a certain problem remains: Xabi Alonso played with Muller for the last couple seasons with no apparent problems(although I haven't run the numbers). There are two possible answers. One is that Alonso has aged and it's affecting how he distributes the ball. The other is that Pep Guardiola played significantly different tactics than Ancelotti does(and experimented much more often) and that therefore this problem did not show up under him because Bayern were playing significantly differently.
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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby JANCKER » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:09 am

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby PunkCapitalist » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:33 pm

Manchu wrote:
aterford wrote:
ramsej84 wrote:But Muller is having a bad season

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I think that what we might be seeing is that Müller's scoring last season under Pep should be considered an anomaly and not the norm. I still think Müller has plenty of room to improve this year but he's not in as much of a crisis as some may suggest.


I think I've figured out what's been going on, and it has very little(or nothing) to do with Muller being out of form or in crises or even played in the wrong position.

Not that long ago, I noticed that Muller was assisting like crazy in a way he hadn't been doing all season, so I decided to check out the statistics(such few that I could access) in order to see what had changed. I knew that Ancelotti had recently moved him to the center and switched to a 4-2-3-1, so I suspected that Muller was simply playing better as a number 10 than he had been on the wings.

Sure enough, I found that Muller, according to whoscored, that Muller had 3 assists in 570 minutes as right winger these season(for one assist every 190 minutes) and had 7 assists in 779 minutes as an attacking mid/secondary striker for one assist every 111.3 minutes. That number is, by the way, one of the greatest performances I've ever seen in terms of assists from an attacking player. It's better than Ozil's best season.

So it seemed that the mystery was solved, assuming that we can take assists as a reasonable measurement of attacking performance. I had known that not getting the ball in dangerous areas had been one of the causes of the dip in Muller's performances earlier this season, and apparently moving to the center solved it. Muller was clearly a number 10 or a center forward and not an outside mid.

However, something about this conclusion bothered me. After all, hadn't Muller achieved World Cup glory on the right? Hadn't he spent a tremendous amount of time on the right throughout his career including in the Treble season? Didn't he go back to the German National Team for world cup qualification and immediately resume scoring and assisting.

That is when I recalled that Bayern playing a 4-2-3-1 meant that Xabi Alonso almost never played, and that Muller had preformed poorly the three games right after winter break when Xabi Alonso played behind him as a center defensive mid in the 4-2-3-1. That is when I took upon myself to check to see if the apparent superiority of the 4-2-3-1 was not really a measurement of something else, and what I found was shocking.

During this current Bundesliga season, Muller has 10 assist as of March 15 2017. He has played 883 minutes with Xabi Alonso, and 704 minutes without Xabi Alonso. In those 883 minutes with XA, Muller has one assist. In those 704 minutes without Xabi Alonso, he has 9(for one assist every 78.2 minutes). There is a much stronger correlation between Muller getting assists and Xabi Alonso not playing than there is between Muller playing in the center and Muller getting assists.

You might then wonder about Muller's time on the right wing then. Didn't he play on the outside for at least some time when Xabi Alonso wasn't on the pitch?

Yes, he did, but only for 145 minutes. In those precious few minutes, he assisted twice(at home against Werder Bremen, but it still counts).

So, in short, the main problem for Muller this season seems to be that there is some sort of anti-synergy going on between Xabi Alonso and Thomas Muller. Muller never plays well when Xabi Alonso is on the pitch, probably because Xabi Alonso distributes the ball in a manner that prevents Muller from receiving the ball in dangerous areas. These two should never play together under Ancelotti.

Fortunately, Xabi Alonso, who I still believe is a wonderful, world-class player if a little old, is retiring at the end of the season and the problem should solve itself. Unfortunately, it might be enough to cost Bayern Munich the Champions League in the meantime if Ancelotti can't play his best team against a powerhouse.

Of course, a certain problem remains: Xabi Alonso played with Muller for the last couple seasons with no apparent problems(although I haven't run the numbers). There are two possible answers. One is that Alonso has aged and it's affecting how he distributes the ball. The other is that Pep Guardiola played significantly different tactics than Ancelotti does(and experimented much more often) and that therefore this problem did not show up under him because Bayern were playing significantly differently.

Interesting thoughts, although the sample is too small to establish proper correlation.

For what it's worth, o also think Alonso disfavors Müller under our current tactical setup. The reason is simple:

Last season we played a quasi-442 in which Alonso's main responsibility was to send long diagonal passes to the traditional wingers (CoCo) for them to cross into Lewy and Müller in the box. This worked because we had two strikers in there.

This season, Müller plays often on the wing or as a CAM instead of as a second striker. In that context, Alonso's long diagonals are ineffective because Müller is not a traditional dribble-and-cross winger. Therefore, Alonso is building play with quick and short passes in a more methodical and slower way. This disfavors Müller because he thrives on space.

The solution is quite simple: regardless of Müller's position and role, play Thiago as the main deep playmaker. Thiago tends to move the ball forward faster, more centrally and in a more vertical fashion than Xabi. That favors Müller because it allows him to find the ball in more central spaces and *before* the opposition settled into their defensive shape.

IMO the way going forward is a 433 with Müller in the RW and Thiago distributing from deep in a more vertical tactical setup.

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby Manchu » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:47 am

PunkCapitalist wrote:Interesting thoughts, although the sample is too small to establish proper correlation.

Yeah, I know that the sample size is tiny, but the level of correlation is so incredibly extreme that I must conclude that something is going on. In fact, I did a chi-squared test of my numbers, and I found that there was less than a 0.5% chance that Xabi Alonso's presence did not decrease the chance of Muller assisting. Apparently the stuff I learned in school is actually useful.

Assists are probably not the best way to measure offensive involvement anyway because random chance plays such a role, but it's hard to think of a better one, especially for a "low volume/high quality" player like Muller.
For what it's worth, o also think Alonso disfavors Müller under our current tactical setup. The reason is simple:

Last season we played a quasi-442 in which Alonso's main responsibility was to send long diagonal passes to the traditional wingers (CoCo) for them to cross into Lewy and Müller in the box. This worked because we had two strikers in there.

That setup brought a lot of goals from Muller, but I don't think that being a target man in the box is the best use of him. So to speak, Muller, in my humble opinion has five major strengths as a player, all related to his tactical awareness: an ability to become unmarked in the box, a very good goal-poaching ability, a great ability to make runs behind the defense, excellent decision making, vision, and situational awareness on the ball, and an ability to create space for other players through his runs.

The way that Guardiola was using him last season only used some of Muller's strength's. Sure he had 20 goals, but he had only 5 assists. To me it feels like if some coach were to tell Messi to play on the left next to the sideline and use his dribbling ability to beat the outside back and then to cross the ball to a tall target forward. Messi might end up with a boatload of assists, but it would still be an almost criminal waste of Messi's talent.

This season, Müller plays often on the wing or as a CAM instead of as a second striker. In that context, Alonso's long diagonals are ineffective because Müller is not a traditional dribble-and-cross winger. Therefore, Alonso is building play with quick and short passes in a more methodical and slower way. This disfavors Müller because he thrives on space.

Exactly. I've noticed that, when Muller's been involved in the offense this season, it often involves long balls(on the ground or in the air) played directly from the defense rather than from the midfield.

The solution is quite simple: regardless of Müller's position and role, play Thiago as the main deep playmaker. Thiago tends to move the ball forward faster, more centrally and in a more vertical fashion than Xabi. That favors Müller because it allows him to find the ball in more central spaces and *before* the opposition settled into their defensive shape.

IMO the way going forward is a 433 with Müller in the RW and Thiago distributing from deep in a more vertical tactical setup.

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I agree completely. The only reason not play a 433 now is that the 4231 allows both Muller and Robben to play at once, and given Robben's age and injury history, Bayern aren't going to have both of them available for too many future matches. I guess that the ideal player to take the role on the left is Julian Brandt if/when he signs for Bayern. Extremely young, decently skilled, and displays excellent decision making on the ball and rarely wastes it, with the last one being the most important. After all, making the right decisions is why Thomas Muller is better than Douglas Costa despite all the skill the latter displays.
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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby PunkCapitalist » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:11 am

Manchu wrote:
PunkCapitalist wrote:Interesting thoughts, although the sample is too small to establish proper correlation.

Yeah, I know that the sample size is tiny, but the level of correlation is so incredibly extreme that I must conclude that something is going on. In fact, I did a chi-squared test of my numbers, and I found that there was less than a 0.5% chance that Xabi Alonso's presence did not decrease the chance of Muller assisting. Apparently the stuff I learned in school is actually useful.

Assists are probably not the best way to measure offensive involvement anyway because random chance plays such a role, but it's hard to think of a better one, especially for a "low volume/high quality" player like Muller.
For what it's worth, o also think Alonso disfavors Müller under our current tactical setup. The reason is simple:

Last season we played a quasi-442 in which Alonso's main responsibility was to send long diagonal passes to the traditional wingers (CoCo) for them to cross into Lewy and Müller in the box. This worked because we had two strikers in there.

That setup brought a lot of goals from Muller, but I don't think that being a target man in the box is the best use of him. So to speak, Muller, in my humble opinion has five major strengths as a player, all related to his tactical awareness: an ability to become unmarked in the box, a very good goal-poaching ability, a great ability to make runs behind the defense, excellent decision making, vision, and situational awareness on the ball, and an ability to create space for other players through his runs.

The way that Guardiola was using him last season only used some of Muller's strength's. Sure he had 20 goals, but he had only 5 assists. To me it feels like if some coach were to tell Messi to play on the left next to the sideline and use his dribbling ability to beat the outside back and then to cross the ball to a tall target forward. Messi might end up with a boatload of assists, but it would still be an almost criminal waste of Messi's talent.

This season, Müller plays often on the wing or as a CAM instead of as a second striker. In that context, Alonso's long diagonals are ineffective because Müller is not a traditional dribble-and-cross winger. Therefore, Alonso is building play with quick and short passes in a more methodical and slower way. This disfavors Müller because he thrives on space.

Exactly. I've noticed that, when Muller's been involved in the offense this season, it often involves long balls(on the ground or in the air) played directly from the defense rather than from the midfield.

The solution is quite simple: regardless of Müller's position and role, play Thiago as the main deep playmaker. Thiago tends to move the ball forward faster, more centrally and in a more vertical fashion than Xabi. That favors Müller because it allows him to find the ball in more central spaces and *before* the opposition settled into their defensive shape.

IMO the way going forward is a 433 with Müller in the RW and Thiago distributing from deep in a more vertical tactical setup.

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I agree completely. The only reason not play a 433 now is that the 4231 allows both Muller and Robben to play at once, and given Robben's age and injury history, Bayern aren't going to have both of them available for too many future matches. I guess that the ideal player to take the role on the left is Julian Brandt if/when he signs for Bayern. Extremely young, decently skilled, and displays excellent decision making on the ball and rarely wastes it, with the last one being the most important. After all, making the right decisions is why Thomas Muller is better than Douglas Costa despite all the skill the latter displays.

I agree. Looks like you have quite a good understanding of football tactics, will be looking forward to reading your posts. If you don't mind me asking, what did you study? Interesting that you went all the way in running the statistical models, and you seem to have a good grasp of football-related metrics.

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby Manchu » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:18 am

PunkCapitalist wrote:I agree. Looks like you have quite a good understanding of football tactics, will be looking forward to reading your posts. If you don't mind me asking, what did you study? Interesting that you went all the way in running the statistical models, and you seem to have a good grasp of football-related metrics.

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I'm actually currently a college student working on a history major with a possible minor in mathematics or statistics, but the reference I made toward school was actually toward my high school biology class where we learned chi-squared analysis in order to evaluate whether simple genetic models adequately explained the variation in the results.

I also wouldn't describe chi-squared analysis as "running a model" as it's far simpler than that(and I pretty much experience working with actual statistical models). A Chi-squared test is actually a very easy to carry out test(that can be done with a pocket calculator in less than 5 minutes) in order to prove or disprove a model. Of course, I didn't have a model for the correlation between Xabi Alonso playing and Muller not assisting, so instead I came up with the "model" that there was no correlation between these two phenomenon. I then calculated how many of Muller's assists would take place with Xabi Alonso on and off the field if this were the case based on minutes played(it was about 5.5 and 4.5 respectively) and then performed a Chi-squared test comparing this to the 1 and 9 in reality. I got a result of 8.435559894 as my value, which, upon consulting a table, revealed that there was less than 0.5% confidence in my "model" of Xabi Alonso not affecting Muller's ability to assist. Thus, there more than a 99.5% probability that there was some sort of correlation.

I probably made all of the above sound really complicated, but it's actually pretty simple and practibly anyone could run the test if they set their minds to it.

As for my understanding of tactics and of statistics, the former has been nurtured over the last year by a deep suspicion that none of my youth coaches knew what they were doing and the latter over the same length of time in particular by my peculiar interest in a rather unique and little known statistic called Goalimpactwhich attempts rank players based on their contribution to the goal difference of the team. It's not perfect, but it's the closest thing to a truly objective player rating I have ever seen, and, if you're a statistic junky like myself, you might want to check out the blog and the twitter account. I would advise you to keep an open mind because it has some interesting and unexpected conclusions(for example, about who the best/most important player on Barcelona is), although, in its favor, it does rate Bayern Munich players extremely highly.
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Thomas Müller

Postby pyrasur » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:41 am

Have you tried a linear regression to see if another factor has a greater significance in Müller's output? I have a hard time accepting that a Chi squared test is completely useful when the variables aren't exactly the same.

By the way, even if I disagree with the test, it's pretty sweet to have a member here who has an interest in mathematical modelling.
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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby JANCKER » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:44 pm

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby DRvad14 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:48 pm

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby icewizard » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:06 pm

I can't find the source so i don't know if it's true, but i wouldn't be surprised :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby Coman » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:07 pm

icewizard wrote:I can't find the source so i don't know if it's true, but i wouldn't be surprised

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby JANCKER » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:13 am

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Re: Thomas Müller

Postby ottackon » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:56 pm

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