German football legend Gerd Mueller has backed his namesake to go on and break his record.
Thomas Mueller has been making headlines with his performance in World Cup 2014 so far.
The 24-year-old Bayern Munich forward has bagged the first hat-trick — three goals in one game — in the tournament so far. Together with the five goals he notched in World Cup 2010, that gives him eight goals in total.
So far, the German record holders for most number of goals scored in a World Cup is held by Gerd Mueller and Miroslav Klose. Both have 14 goals to their name. The all-time record still belongs to the Brazilian Ronaldo, who has 15.
“The lad’s fast, he’s got a good technique – he’s going to be a great player,” Gerd Mueller told Sport Bild.
“I am certain that Thomas Müller will eventually get the World Cup goal record, as he still has two or three more World Cups in him.”
‘Das Bomber‘ as Gerd is popularly known, retired from the German national team after scoring the winner for West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
The 68-year-old had an amazing international record, scoring 68 goals in 62 international.
Thomas has a decent record himself, has he has 20 goals in 50 games.
Should the younger Mueller carry on his impressive form, he is a shoo-in for the Golden Boot, the award given to the top goal scorer in the World Cup.
“I hope he retains the Golden Boot and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him,” said Gerd Mueller.
Mueller was joint winner of the Golden Boot in the 2010 edition of the World Cup, and also won the Best Young Player award.
Here is an Associated Press article on Germany’s “false nine” system.
Germany Scores 4 Without a Striker in Lineup
SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Coach Joachim Loew left Germany’s all-time leading scorer on the bench in the World Cup opener against Portugal and it proved to be the right move.
Loew raised some eyebrows in Germany when he decided to call up only one classic striker into his squad, the country’s top-scoring Miroslav Klose.
But Loew’s decision to put his faith in Thomas Mueller paid dividends on Monday, when the attacking midfielder scored his first hat trick for Germany in a 4-0 romp over Portugal in their Group G opener.
“He is such an unorthodox player, as a coach you never know what he is about to do,” Loew said. “For opponents, he is very unpredictable, he only has one thought on his mind and that is to score a goal.”
Klose has surpassed legendary Gerd Mueller with 69 goals for Germany and needs one more in the World Cup to tie the record of 15 held by Brazil’s Ronaldo.
But even such credentials were not enough to get the 36-year-old Klose a spot in the starting lineup.
Loew has been favoring a “false nine” system, with attacking midfielders swapping positions and passes to break clear of the defenders.
It worked like a dream against Portugal.
Mario Goetze and Mesut Ozil created chances but failed to score themselves. Mueller, however, pounced on every opportunity.
He converted a 12th-minute penalty — earned by Goetze — then stripped Bruno Alves of the ball to score his second and Germany’s third just before halftime that all but put the game away.
In between, Mats Hummels headed in off a corner and Portugal’s defender Pepe was sent off, for an altercation with Mueller.
Mueller said he had no qualms about taking the penalty.
“I’ve been in some big matches and it’s not like I get afraid,” Mueller said.
Loew said he also valued Mueller not only for his scoring.
“He ran a lot and tied Pepe and Bruno Alves (Portugal’s two defenders), who had to stay behind and could not go forward. That allowed Goetze and Ozil to look for space. That was planned,” Loew said.
Loew’s plan was to “win the ball in midfield and quickly attack” and the coach said the players executed it well.
By choosing to play without a true striker, Loew may have increased the efficiency of his team.
Loew lost another option when Marco Reus was injured just before the World Cup.
Still, if the team keeps playing like this, Klose may not get the chance to equal Ronaldo’s record.